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UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Scientists Receive $1 Million Grant for Breast Cancer Research

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BCRF featurePITTSBURGH – Four leading UPMC Hillman Cancer Center breast cancer researchers are among the world’s top scientists to share in a record-breaking $63 million investment in cancer research by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). The funding—nearly $1 million of which will go to UPMC and University of Pittsburgh scientists--will span the entire spectrum of cancer research, from the most basic biology of a cancer cell to developing innovative new treatments and improving quality of life.


The following UPMC researchers each received a portion of the grant:


Wendie Berg, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.R., professor of radiology, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital and University of Pittsburgh. Berg’s area of research includes improving the precision of breast cancer detection and examining the role of whole breast screening ultrasound for detecting breast cancer in women with dense breasts following 3D mammography.


Leisha Emens, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine in hematology/oncology and co-leader of the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Immunology and Immunotherapy Program. Emens led the first large clinical trial demonstrating the clinical activity of immunotherapy in patients with triple negative breast cancer, which likely will result in a new standard of care for certain patients. Her BCRF-funded research aims to develop highly effective combination immunotherapies. 


Steffi Oesterreich, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and chemical biology and co-director of the Women’s Cancer Research Center at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and Magee-Womens Research Institute (MWRI).  Oesterreich’s entire career has been in breast cancer research, and, most recently, her BCRF-funded research has focused on understanding unique features of invasive lobular breast cancer, the second most common histological subtype of breast cancer. 


Adrian Lee, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and chemical biology at the Women’s Cancer Research Center at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and MWRI, and director of the UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Institute for Precision Medicine. Lee’s BCRF-funded research focuses on targeting the insulin-like growth factor pathway in E-cadherin deficient breast cancers. 


BCRF grants for 2018-2019 were awarded to 300 scientists at leading academic and medical institutions across 14 countries and six continents.


PHOTO  INFO: (click image for high-res version)


Credit: Steffi Oesterreich

BCRF grant recipients (l-r): 
Adrian Lee, Ph.D.; Leisha Emens, M.D., Ph.D.; Steffi Oesterreich, Ph.D.; Wendie Berg, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.R.