Fralin Biomedical Research Institute biotech spin-off seeks potential breast cancer treatment
For 40 percent of women with triple negative breast cancer, the most aggressive type of breast cancer, the cancer will come back and spread – even after the tumor is resected and treated with chemotherapy or radiation.
A cancer research startup company founded by Virginia Tech scientists at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC recently received a boost in funding through the U.S. Small Business Administration to study a molecule that could prevent breast cancer recurrence and metastasis.
The company, Acomhal Research Inc., secured a one-year $399,878 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant to determine if a molecule that prevents invasive brain cancer stem cells from spreading can also help treat aggressive forms of breast cancer.
“We’ve shown that this drug has promising therapeutic properties in treating aggressive brain cancers, but we want to know if it can prevent other invasive cancers from spreading, starting with triple negative breast cancer,” said Samy Lamouille, an assistant professor at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and chief executive officer of Acomhal Research Inc.
Patients with triple negative breast cancer are more likely to develop new tumors, or metastases, in other organs, such as the brain or lung. Lamouille explains that these recurrences can be spurred by lingering cancer stem cells.
“Cancer stem cells are usually resistant to chemotherapy. If even a small population of these cells are left behind after treatment, then they can rapidly seed the growth of new tumors,” Lamouille said.
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