Bachelder Receives Breakthrough Award from DoD

Bachelder Receives Breakthrough Award from DOD

Robin Bachelder, Ph.D. has been awarded a new Breakthrough Award from the Breast Cancer Research Program of the Department of Defense. Her project was one of eight selected for funding from a national pool of 231 applications. This three-year project, entitled “Targeting precursor neural (N)-cadherin to eliminate chemotherapy-resistant triple-negative breast tumor cells” will examine the efficacy of targeting a novel determinant of docetaxel-resistance in triple-negative breast cancer. The work builds upon the previous work of Dr. Bachelder’s laboratory, showing that TN breast cancers are heterogeneous, being composed of chemotherapy-sensitive and chemotherapy-resistant tumor cell subpopulations. Her laboratory’s most recent publication* shows that a precursor form of Neural-cadherin (pro-N-cadherin) is expressed on the surface of chemo-resistant TNBC cells, and is a central determinant of their invasive and chemo-resistant behavior (Nelson et al., Oncotarget). Her newly funded grant will support pre-clinical studies testing efficacy of a novel combination therapy for TNBC. This combination therapy includes docetaxel and a precursor N-cadherin-specific monoclonal antibody that kills chemo-resistant TNBC cells. For this project, Dr. Bachelder will work with Donald McDonnell, Ph.D., whose laboratory will study efficacy of this combination therapy in a mouse model of TNBC, and Kelly Marcom, M.D., who will provide tissues from neoadjuvant chemotherapy-treated TNBC patients for studying frequency of pro-N-cadherin expression in this patient population.

* Nelson ER, Li S, Kennedy M, Payne S, Kilibarda K, Groth J, Bowie M, Parilla-Castellar E, de Ridder G., Marcom PK, Lyes M, Peterson BL, Cook M, Pizzo SV, McDonnell DP, Bachelder RE. In Press. Oncotarget. Chemotherapy enriches for an invasive triple-negative breast tumor cell subpopulation expressing a precursor form of N-cadherin on the cell surface