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Research Initiatives

CBCF is the major support of a new initiative under the direction of Dr. Larry Norton at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York as well as other national and international research facilities, concerning a revolutionary theory of cancer: that it is a disease of cell mobility as well as cell division. One of the problems with cancer is that abnormal cells divide too much and hence make masses of cells called tumors. But that’s not the biggest problem because single tumors can almost always be removed by surgery or destroyed by radiation treatments.

The biggest problem is that cancer cells do not “stay put” in the organ where they originate but rather travel to other parts of the body where they can also make tumors that can destroy those organs (bone, liver, brain etc.). What research scientists supported by CBCF funds have discovered is that the cancer cells that travel from the organ of origin (the “primary site”) to other organs (the “secondary site” or “site of metastases”) can also travel back to the primary site, reinvigorating growth in that location. If the primary tumor is destroyed then the cancer cells circulating in the blood can go to secondary sites, causing more tumors to form and more destruction.

For this reason, CBCF scientists are studying ways to inhibit the process of “seeding.” These include:

  • Learning how bones can provide a place for breast cancer cells to “hide” for years before growing or traveling to other secondary sites.
  • Learning how white blood cells help cancers grow, survive chemotherapy, and “seed.” We wish to inhibit these bad white blood cells so that cancer cells are less able to grow, less able to survive chemotherapy, and less able to seed new metastases.
  • Conversely, some white blood cells can inhibit the process of “seeding” of the lung. We wish to encourage the development of these white blood cells by a variety of techniques.
  • Learning how we can turn the primary cancer into a “poisoned sponge” that can attract seeds and then destroy them immunologically.
  • Learning which genes underlie all of these processes so that we can develop better diagnostic methods, better means of targeted therapy to attack cancer cells and bad white blood cells, and ultimately innovative ways to prevent cancer from happening in the first place.

CBCF is the primary source of funding for this research of the Self-Seeding Theory of Breast Cancer by Dr. Larry Norton and colleagues. It is also the sole funding for a large study in Israel that seeks to define and identify the self-seeding link between osteoporosis and breast cancer.

Groundbreaking work funded by CBCF is revolutionizing the way we understand and treat breast cancer.

Research Update Letters

Dr. Elizabeth Comen & Dr. Larry Norton Research Update - June 2016
Dr. Elizabeth Comen & Dr. Larry Norton Research Update - June 2015
Soroka Medical Center Breast Cancer Study - June 2015
Dr. Philip B. Paty Research Update - May 2015
Dr. Elizabeth Comen & Dr. Larry Norton Research Update - May 2015
Dr. Elizabeth Comen & Dr. Larry Norton Research Update - June 2014
Soroka Medical Center Breast Cancer Study - April 2013
Dr. Elizabeth Comen Research Letter - June 2013
Dr. Larry Norton Research Update - June 2013
Dr. Larry Norton Research Update - April 2012
Dr. Larry Norton Research Update - June 2011
Dr. Larry Norton Research Update - April 2010
Dr. Larry Norton Research Update - January 2009
Nature Medicine Published Journal - Dr. Larry Norton & Dr. Massagué - August 2006

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