Each year, our Scientific Review Committee evaluates proposals from researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) to choose the three most promising studies that are aligned with the mission of WBCS. We play an active role as a partner of MCW to ensure your donations are used in the most promising way.
WBCS Scientific Review Committee
The WBCS Scientific Review Committee (SRC) meets annually to review grant proposals and recommend approval and funding by the WBCS Board of Directors. Ravi Misra, PhD, Dean of the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) Graduate School, chairs the MCW peer scientist review committee that reviews and ranks all proposals before they are presented to the SRC for further evaluation and discussion. The purpose of the SRC, in partnership with the MCW Cancer Center, is to provide oversight and focus to the allocation of WBCS funds provided by the annual Showhouse for a Cure and its supporting events.
2017 Scientific Review Committee
(Seated L-R) Jan Lennnon, Diane Zore (chair), Ed Ward, Carol Williams, PhD.
(Standing L-R) Mark Blake, MD; Mark Bosbous, MD; Alysandra Lal, MD, MPH; Ravi Misra, PhD; Ming You, MD, PhD.
2017 WBCS research awardee:
Guen Chen, MD, PhD
Professor, Pharmacology and Toxicology
Research Title: "Disrupt a Signaling Circuit for the Treatment of Breast Cancer"
Triple negative breast cancer has the worst prognosis among all types of breast cancers. There is thus an urgent need to identify novel triple negative therapeutic targets. Triple negative breast cancer is highly heterogeneous and treatments that target a functionally interdependent cluster of molecules may be a more effective treatment than current approaches. A molecule known as p38 is involved in promoting triple negative breast cancer development and malignant progression. Based on our preliminary results we will test whether p38 and two other important proteins known as HSP90 and Ras are working together to cause triple negative breast cancer. Upon completion, these studies will hopefully identify targets for therapeutic disruption that may be a new strategy for the treatment of triple negative breast cancer.
2016 WBCS researchers awarded a second year of funding in 2017:
Anjishnu Banerjee, PhD
Assistant Professor of Biostatistics, Medical College of Wisconsin
Research Title: “Bayesian Ensemble Prediction for Identifying and Classifying Heterogeneity of Cell Types in Prostate Cancer”
One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Improving diagnostic accuracy is essential for preventing suboptimal, ineffective treatment or unnecessary procedures that can lead to impotence, incontinence and other factors affecting quality of life. In particular, early diagnosis of indolent versus aggressive cancer can lead to substantial improvements in treatment. Early diagnosis using advanced multi-faceted MRI has become standard of care in prostate cancer. Valuable information in these advanced MR images can be used to predict the location-specific grade of cancer using machine learning approaches to develop sophisticated algorithms with more predictive power than current approaches. Such automated detection has tremendous potential for reducing misdiagnosis, leading to improved treatment and substantial reduction in unnecessary procedures. Elementary versions of the proposed techniques show promising performance in simulated data. Fine tuning these techniques should lead to additional funding from extramural sources, including the National Institutes of Health.
Carmen Bergom, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Radiation Oncology, Medical College of Wisconsin
Research Title: “Mapping Tumor Evolution in the Radiation Response in Breast Cancer”
Research progress has led to breakthroughs in the systemic treatment of breast cancer, such as Her2-targeted therapies. However, no similar use of tumor information has been utilized for effectively directing the use of radiation therapy. The development of predictive tools for the radiosensitivity of tumors could guide the dosage of radiation administered or lead to the use of other treatments in conjunction with radiation to treat radiation-resistant tumors. Cancer cells have the genetic ability to adapt to inhospitable environments and escape from standard therapies. The goals of this project are to (1) identify key genetic pathways important for tumor adaptations to survive radiation therapy; and (2) validate target genes that are identified and compare them to gene expression profiles in human breast cancer patients. Ultimately, the identification and validation of these pathways could lead to therapeutic targets that will enhance the radiation response in breast cancer.
Andrey Sorokin, PhD
Professor, Medicine/Nephrology, Medical College of Wisconsin
Research Title: “Role of Shc Proteins in Mammary Tumor Progression”
The Sorokin laboratory has discovered a novel mechanism of regulation of FOXO (a type of protein that plays important roles in regulating the expression of genes) by a member of a family of adaptor proteins termed Shc, which may be responsible for the progression of breast cancer. An exclusive opportunity exists to evaluate directly the contributions of individual Shc proteins to mammary tumor progression by studying unique genetically modified rat strains depleted of individual members of the Shc family of proteins. These rat strains will be used in a well-established model of chemically-induced mammary cancer. At least one of the rat strains from the laboratory’s unique set of rats is expected to demonstrate relative resistance to chemically-induced tumor formation and growth, which will allow the novel key player in the progression of mammary tumors to be identified. The proposed studies are important because they will allow identification of potentially novel effective biomarkers and/or useful targets for treatment.
Dr. Hallgeir Rui named WBCS Professor of Breast Cancer Research
WBCS initiated funding for an endowed chair in basic breast cancer research beginning in 1999. It grew from funds donated over and above annual research awards for early-stage breast cancer and prostate cancer research. The endowed professorship provides a new opportunity for WBCS to advance the frontiers of breast cancer research and ultimately impact research protocols and best practice improvements that have a global reach. WBCS will continue to fund promising early-stage research protocols up to $300,000 annually, in addition to adding support for the professorship and laboratory commitments.
One of the most exciting recent developments is the award of the WBCS Endowed Breast Cancer Research Professorship. Internationally known breast cancer researcher Hallgeir Rui, MD, PhD was recruited for this position.