Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

Breast Cancer Program

Program Leader(s)

Description of the Program

The Braman Family Breast Cancer Institute (BFBCI) Breast Cancer (BC) Program brings together a highly interactive group of investigators whose research is directed to a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying breast cancer development and progression with the ultimate goal of improving breast cancer survival. The Program Co-Leaders, Drs. Joyce Slingerland and Marc Lippman are both clinician-scientists with longstanding experience in basic, translational and clinical research in the breast cancer field. Program Membership is balanced across academic rank. Membership is determined by a strong commitment to breast cancer research related to at least one of the three program themes, evidenced by peer-reviewed publications, existing or potential for NCI/NIH research funding, or leadership in clinical/translational trials.

Goals of the Program

The Specific Goals of the BC Program of Sylvester are: to delineate molecular pathways underlying breast cancer development and progression. This is achieved by thematically focused enquiry:

  1. To interrogate effects of the micro and macroenvironment, including obesity, depression and inflammation on breast carcinogenesis and metastasis
  2. To elucidate pathways governing normal and malignant mammary stem cell self-renewal
  3. To understand how epigenetic modulators interact with genetic factors to modulate mammary development, carcinogenesis and metastasis.The ultimate goal of this research is to identify and validate novel therapeutic targets and bring these to clinical trials with minimal delay.

To achieve these goals, the program scientific investigations include the following:

  • Investigation on how cross talk between liganded estrogen receptor and signaling kinases regulate receptor stability and transcriptional activity, and the role of coactivators in both, and their relevance to hormone independent breast cancer progression.
  • Understanding how micro/macro-environmental factors including chronic inflammation, obesity, and depression contribute to breast cancer development and progression.
  • Investigation on how gene expression programs regulate mammary development, processes underlying lineage commitment and stem cell self-renewal during mammogenesis and mammary cancer development.


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