Prognostic and Therapeutic Value of Nuclear pSer137-Pfn1 for Breast Cancer

Jieya Shao, Ph.D.

Project Overview
Breast cancer is a life-threatening disease affecting hundreds of thousands of women worldwide. Research in the past several decades has generated a wealth of knowledge which has not only improved our understanding of the disease mechanisms but has also provided more effective means to treat breast cancer patients. We also now know that breast cancer is really not a single disease that can be treated by one single drug. Instead, it is composed of distinct classes that are driven by various abnormal biological events, and as such should be treated accordingly, with different therapeutic agents. Nevertheless, although the term “personalized therapy” makes perfect sense theoretically, the practical challenge is to determine the best ways to classify hundreds of thousands of patients into a manageable number of subgroups sharing the same clinically actionable targets. In addition, to minimize over-treatment (for patients who will do well regardless of post-surgery systematic treatments) or futile treatment (for patients who respond poorly to treatments), it is important to use reliable prognostic and predictive biomarkers to stratify patients in order to guide proper treatment decisions.

In line with these urgent medical needs, we present evidence here that nuclear pSer137-Pfn1, a tumor-promoting protein that we extensively characterized in a preliminary study, has novel prognostic, predictive and therapeutic potentials for breast cancer. We wish to definitively test this in this grant with the ultimate goal of translating nuclear pSer137-Pfn1 into a novel and clinically useful biomarker and therapeutic target for breast cancer