Queen’s Receives $1.6 million for Breast Cancer Research

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Dr. Peter GreerQueen’s University Pathology and Molecular Medicine Department’s Dr. Peter Greer has received $1.6 million for two research projects to develop new treatments for slowing tumour growth in breast cancer.

Dr. Greer stated in a University release that they have worked on those projects for several years and were delighted that both grants were renewed in the last Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR) competition.

Researchers in his lab are investigating the influence of two enzymes – Fer and calpain – on tumour growth.

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In earlier studies at Queen’s Cancer Research Institute, Dr. Greer and his team have determined that inhibiting these enzymes slows cancer growth. Future studies will develop a better understanding of how Fer and calpain contribute to creating tumours, and the manufacturing of new drugs to target the enzymes in cancer treatment.

Calpain regulates cell behaviour by splitting proteins into smaller peptides, and Fer regulates cellular functions by adding phosphates to proteins to affect their functions.

“There are exciting new technologies and huge amounts of knowledge coming down the pipe that are revealing the biological complexities of cancer at a much more sophisticated level,” says Dr. Greer. “I hope to see some of the work we have done contribute to that further understanding of cancer and to improved treatments for breast and other cancer in the future.”

Cancer is a disease of gene mutations. Cancer biologists attempt to determine how gene products –  and in some cases, mutant versions of those products – interact in ways that control cancer cell survival and production, as well as migration and invasion properties leading to the spread of disease.