Dr. Ling Wang awarded DOD grant to study Breast Cancer Brain Metastases

Dr. Ling Wang awarded DOD grant to study Breast Cancer Brain Metastases

Ling Wang, MD, PhD has been awarded a Department of Defense (DOD) Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP) Breakthrough Level 1 grant for 3 years, titled “Regulation of Tumor Cell ANGPTL4 by Astrocyte-Secreted TGF-Beta2 in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Brain Metastases”

Triple negative (estrogen receptor-/progesterone receptor-/human epidermal growth factor receptor-) breast cancer patients have the worst outcome among patients with breast cancer due to high propensity for brain metastases and do not respond to hormone or HER2-targeted therapies. Identifying specific targets on TNBC cells for prevention of brain metastases is an overarching challenge and is urgently needed. It has been known that tumor microenvironment plays an important role in tumor development. In breast cancer brain metastasis lesion, it has been found that the activated astrocytes (a sub-type of glial cells) accumulate both around and inside the metastatic foci, which suggests that astrocytes may contribute to breast cancer brain metastases. However, the mechanisms are unknown. This project was designed to identify the molecular role of Angiopoietin-like 4 (ANGPTL4), an up-regulated gene induced by astrocyte-secreted TGF-β2, in the brain metastases of the triple negative breast cancer. Knowledge acquired from this study would potentially lead to a new avenue for diagnosing and treating breast cancer brain metastases.

Dr. Ling Wang completed her MD from West China Medical Center of Sichuan University in China, and her PhD from Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Germany. She then completed her postdoc training in the laboratory of Dr. Debabrata Mukhopadhyay at the Harvard Medical School in Boston and Mayo Clinic in Rochester with a focus on the role of neuropilin-1, a VEGF receptor, in tumor angiogenesis and tumor progression. Dr. Wang most recently completed a postdoc position with Dr. Ramani Ramchandran in the Department of Pediatrics in the Medical College of Wisconsin.

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