From a New Release from Western University in Ontario, Canada
They represent less than 15 per cent of women diagnosed with breast cancer. But for Dr. Shawn Li, continuing a search for solutions in this rarely diagnosed area of breast cancer has become his main mission.
Thanks to a $200,000 (over two years) Innovation Grant from the Canadian Cancer Society, the Western Biochemistry professor hopes to find ways to overcome chemotherapy resistance in women with triple-negative breast cancer.
Li was one of 37 researchers across Canada to share in $7 million in Innovation Grants, supporting creative problem-solving in cancer research.
With this continued support of the Canadian Cancer Society, who has given Li’s research $2.4 million since 2001, Li will be studying the biochemical reaction that plays a critical role in the death of triple-negative breast cancer cells, and is also involved in chemotherapy resistance.
His new project will study how two proteins – Numb and Set8 – interact in this reaction and look for compounds that could serve as the first targeted treatments for triple-negative breast cancer.
Li’s previous work showed the Numb protein plays an important role in cancer cell death. However, the Set8 protein interferes with this process and leads to chemotherapy resistance. Li and his team will study the Set8 protein and how it interferes with cancer cell death and, more important, screen thousands of drugs to look for those that prevent Set8 from interfering with cancer cell death, which could lead to better outcomes for women with triple-negative breast cancer.

• Read more about TNBC in my book, Surviving Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.

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