Dr. Cyrus Ghajar receives $4.1M grant to study ways to prevent metastatic breast cancer
Metastatic breast cancer researcher Dr. Cyrus Ghajar has received a $4.1 million Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP) “Era of Hope” Scholar Award.
The Department of Defense’s BCRP is the second biggest funder of breast cancer research in the U.S. Its Era of Hope award encourages high-impact, collaborative research, particularly among innovative young researchers. For this work, Ghajar has teamed with Fred Hutch researchers Drs. Julie Gralow, Jason Bielas, Eric Holland and Cecilia Moens, as well as investigators at Harvard Medical School and at the University of Colorado, Denver. Ghajar also has involved two local breast cancer patient advocates on this project.
Ghajar is the director of the Laboratory for the Study of Metastatic Microenvironments (LSM2), which is housed within the Translational Research Program in Fred Hutch’s Public Health Sciences Division. The LSM2 studies how microenvironments within distant tissues influence dormancy, drug resistance and the re-emergence of disseminated tumor cells. He will use the funds to research ways to prevent breast cancer metastasis by treating dormant disseminated tumor cells.
Metastatic breast cancer claims 40,000 lives a year; it’s estimated that 30 percent of all breast cancer cases will become metastatic. Interestingly, 20 percent of these cases will not emerge until a decade following therapy.