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Investigator Gema Moreno-Bueno receives the AVON Grant for her Her2+ Breast Cancer Study

Posted on 13-11-2012

The MD Anderson Cancer Center Foundation Spain researcher's study focuses on characterizing the Gasdermin B gene as a possible predictive marker in Her2+ breast tumors.

The first AVON Grant aims to help the development of projects carried out in Spain within the area of fighting breast cancer.

MD Anderson Cancer Center Foundation Spain and the Madrid Autonomous University researcher, Gema Moreno Bueno, has been awarded the first AVON Grant for her project on the identification of the Gasdermin B (Gsdmb) gene as a possible predictive marker as a response to treatment on Her2+ breast tumors. The grant, of 285,000 Euros, will enable the research team to carry out an in-depth study of the application of what is known about this oncogene in the diagnosis and selection of patients submitted to specific treatments.

In recent years, a number of molecular mechanisms have been described that help understand the different clinical behavior of patients with HER2+ breast cancer in terms of therapeutic response. Some authors have suggested the implication of genes chromosomally localized near the Her2neu (ErbB2) receptor. "In this line, our group has recently identified Gasdermin B as a possible predictive marker in this kind of tumor, given that alterations in the gene have been detected in patients with limited response rate to specific anti-Her2 therapies. Now, our main aim is to confirm its clinical usefulness, which means identifying a new diagnostic method with which to select treatment for patients, and therefore, an advance in what is known as personalized medicine", states Dr Gema Moreno Bueno.

At the first AVON Grant presentation act, the researcher recognized that "in addition to the economic sum, this kind of support always represents a great endorsement of our team, a boost in motivation that will undoubtedly help us to achieve the goals we set ourselves in the beginning".

The choice of projects to benefit from the first AVON Grant was done by means of a tribunal composed of 8 members, among who were renowned specialists from the clinical, surgical, research and social fields related to the fight against cancer and representatives from AVON.

At this first edition, in addition to the MD Anderson Cancer Center Foundation Spain specialist, award recipients included Dr Antonio Postigo of the Barcelona Clinical Hospital, Dr Laura G. Estevez of the Madrid Hospital, Dr Maria Isabel Mariscal Crespo of Huelva University and Dr Joaquin Arribas of the Vall d’Hebron Hospital in Barcelona.

Deciphering the full implication of Gasdermin B (Gsdmb) in HER2+ breast cancer

In addition to confirming the implication of Gsdmb in reducing the response to Trastuzumab, specific Her-2 chemotherapy in patients with HER2+ breast cancer, Dr Moreno’s team have focused on attempting to elucidate the molecular mechanisms that intervene in said behavior, as well as identifying other proteins that interact with Gsdmb intervening in its function and/or regulation with the TAP (Tandem affinity purification) technique. This approach will allow the study of new signaling pathways or molecules involved in HER2+ breast cancer treatment response, which may be used in the short/medium term in clinical practice.

A third objective, explains the MD Anderson Cancer Center Foundation Spain investigator, is to look more deeply into the possible oncogenetic role of Gsdmb in breast cancer. For that purpose, genetically engineered mouse models are being generated with increased expression of Gsdmb1/2. "This analysis will us to study the participation of Gsdmb in tumor progression and in the response to treatment alone or in combination with Her2", explains Dr Moreno.