Researchers at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) School of
Medicine and the UMC Breast Care Center are participating in a National Institutes of
Health funded research study focusing on breast cancer in Hispanic and Latina women.
Candy Arentz, M.D., assistant professor at the TTUHSC Department of Surgery, said the
study is in collaboration with Michael Dean, M.D., a researcher from the National Cancer
"There has not been a study that focused solely on the genetics of Hispanic or Latina women with breast cancer," Arentz said. "Treatment for breast cancer is changing. We now focus on the specific patient in conjunction with the breast cancer. A mutation in a gene is a permanent change in the DNA. Most past models that calculated the risk of breast cancer have been based on studies with 80 percent Caucasian women. We need to research the Hispanic/Latina population which traditionally has been underrepresented in research to find answers about how breast cancer affects them."
The primary objective is to collect saliva samples from up to 2,000 hispanic or latina
women who currently or previously were diagnosed with breast cancer. The samples will
serve as a source of dna, and information on the stage and pathology of their tumors.
Ann purdom, r.n., msn, clinical research manager at the umc southwest cancer
center, where samples will be collected, said participation for those interested in the study
"Once consent has been obtained, a saliva swab will be taken from the patients' mouth and a questionnaire will be completed," Purdom said. "The process is simple and non-invasive. Any and all Hispanic/Latina women with breast cancer are potentially eligible for this research trial."
Arentz, principal investigator of this study, said certain proteins play a role in the repair of double-stranded breaks in DNA. A synthetic lethal strategy for cancer therapy has been developed using DNA damaging chemotherapy agents to cause single-stranded breaks, combined with poly-ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors to inhibit single-stranded DNA repair. This approach may be particularly effective in BRCA mutation carriers, as the tumor will be unable to repair the double-stranded breaks. A recent trial of one PARP inhibitor demonstrated partial response or stable disease in breast, ovarian and prostate cancer subjects.
Arentz said there is a unique opportunity to identify Hispanic and Latina women that may be eligible for new-targeted therapies.
"This study continues the School of Medicine's mission in providing the best care for all people," Arentz said. "If we can find answers as to how cancers grow in this population, we can better find drug treatments, therapies and care for them."
Other investigators in the study are Everardo Cobos, M.D., Jose Figueroa, M.D., Diane Nguyen, M.D., Fred Hardwicke, M.D., Nicholas D'Cunha, M.D., and Lukman Tijani, M.D.
For more information about the study, call (806) 775-8597.
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