Dr.s Canturia and Aneja awarded National Institutes of Health Grant

Northside Hospital Cancer Institute and University Gynecology Oncology's Dr. Guilherme Canturia and Prof. Ritu Aneja (PI), Georgia State University, were awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to study the Evaluation of Centrosome Amplification as a Risk-Predictor for Breast Cancer Aggressiveness in African-American and Caucasian women.  The grant is funded from 2014-2019 and was given an Impact Score of 10, the highest possible National Cancer Institute grant score.

Breast cancers in African-American women are characterized by earlier onset, higher aggressiveness, more extensive metastases and increased mortality rates compared to those in Caucasian women.  A bewildering mystery confronting clinicians and cancer cell biologists alike is why some early stage breast cancers transform into aggressive tumors that readily metastasize to distant sites in the body.

A simple and reliable test to predict metastatic risk in early-stage tumors has so far remained elusive.  Clearly, the critical barrier to progress is a lack of knowledge of quantifiable properties of non-invasive lesions that predict the probability of faster kinetic progression to metastatic disease.  The grant's goal is to address this vital knowledge gap by identifying cell biological characteristics underlying the disease's aggressiveness, thereby reducing the breast cancer-related health disparity between African-American and Caucasian women.  The central hypothesis states that amplified centrosomes enhance cell polarization by organizing a compacted Golgi network that propels directed cell migration and invation to accelerate metastases.  The possibility that organellar-level disparities may exist between tumors of differing metastatic potential has never been explored.

For more information, please call Dr. Cantuaria at the University Gynecologic Oncology Office, 404-300-2990.

This article was originally posted in University Gynecologic Oncology Update, Spring 2015.  You can learn more about this organization and their work here.