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UT receives $151,100 grant to study how cancer spreads

The migration of cancer cells away from the primary tumor and their subsequent metastasis to distant organs is the leading cause of mortality among breast cancer patients.

A University of Toledo biologist is the recipient of a two-year, $151,100 grant from The National Institute of Health’s National Cancer Institute to study how cancer cells spread in the body.

Dr. Rafael Garcia-Mata, assistant professor of biological sciences, will lead a UT Department of Biological Sciences research laboratory to conduct new cancer research entitled, “A Novel RhoG Protein Interaction Network in Invadopodia.”

Cancer cells gain the ability to invade other tissues and enter the bloodstream by forming actin-rich membrane protrusions called invadopodia that degrade the extracellular matrix (ECM).

Dr. Rafael Garcia-Mata

Dr. Rafael Garcia-Mata

“This study is one of three our lab is currently conducting to learn more about how triple negative breast cancer metastasizes in the body,” Garcia-Mata said. “It is our goal to learn more about how these protrusions form and to identify the upstream regulators and downstream effectors of the formations. Once we understand how these invadopodia form, we can begin to research treatments to prevent or slow their progress.”

“There is exciting medical research ongoing at The University of Toledo,” said Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur. “This new two-year award is a credit to UT’s high-quality basic research which is typically unheralded work requiring several years of diligence and persistence. But this research often results in powerful breakthroughs that benefit untold millions. It is important that federal funds continue to support such basic medical research.”

Kaptur is a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, which has oversight over the National Cancer Institute.

Media Coverage
13 ABC (July 22, 2016)


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