October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time to focus on the causes of and treatments for the second most common cancer among American women. About one in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer sometime in her life, according to the American Cancer Society.
Florida State University experts are available to comment on efforts to study and treat this disease and ways to improve quality of life for breast cancer survivors.
Akash Gunjan, associate professor, College of Medicine
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Gunjan studies the built-in cellular mechanisms that could potentially disrupt cancerous cells from dividing. These mechanisms include proteins within the cell that act as potential tumor suppressors as well as DNA repair molecules.
“No two cancers are the same. Even adjacent cells from the same tumor can be different and have different mutations, which is why cancer is so difficult to treat and the same therapy does not work for everyone with the same type of cancer. That is why personalized treatments for cancer based on genomic sequencing technologies is so important.”
Lynn Panton, professor, College of Health and Human Sciences
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Panton researches various forms of exercise and their effects on body composition, muscular strength and functional outcomes of healthy older adults and chronically diseased populations. Her recent research has focused on the effects of resistance training and functional impact training in female breast cancer survivors.
“Breast cancer survivors experience long-term treatment-related side effects, including negative changes in body composition and bone density. Research is helping us to better understand how various exercises can mitigate those effects, helping survivors maintain muscle mass, strength and bone mineral density. We’ve seen benefits from yin yoga, functional impact training and resistance training. It’s important to highlight the benefits of these interventions for survivors.”
Qing Xiang “Amy” Sang, Professor, Department of Biochemistry
Jinfeng Zhang, Associate Professor, Department of Statistics
Sang and Zhang research immunotherapy treatments for cancer. They have developed a biomarker identification system to provide more accurate screening for breast cancer patients for chemotherapy.
“Cancer immunotherapy has brought hope for cancer patients. There is an urgent need for advancing the knowledge of immune evasion in different cancer types and identifying reliable biomarkers that guide therapy selection and patient inclusion in clinical trials. We have been investigating the immune responses and evasion mechanisms in human breast cancer and identifying different breast cancer groups based on their expression of immune-related genes. These findings may provide a better understanding of patients’ responses to immunotherapies and shed light on the design of novel combination therapies.”