A team of researchers led by Reuben Harris, PhD, Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics (BMBB), and Douglas Yee, MD, Director of the Masonic Cancer Center, and Professor in the Department of Medicine and Pharmacology, has been awarded an $8.5 million grant by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to study metastatic breast cancer.

The five year research project, titled “APOBEC Mutagenesis in Breast Cancer” aims to study an enzyme-driven mutation process in breast cancer cells.

“In work pioneered by our team at the Masonic Cancer Center, APOBEC enzymes have emerged as a dominant source of cell mutation in breast cancer,” said Dr. Yee. “This finding addresses a common, but poorly understood problem in breast cancer - the development of resistance to medical therapy. This new research will lead to a deep molecular understanding of how tumors mutate and evolve, and why they eventually stop responding to therapies that had previously been working well.”

In addition to Drs. Harris and Yee, Daniel Harki, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Minnesota; Hideki Aihara, PhD, Associate Professor, BMBB, University of Minnesota; and Rommie Amaro, PhD, Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UC San Diego, are project leaders.

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