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Horiuchi Receives $450,000 Komen Research Grant

Dai Horiuchi, PhD

Dai Horiuchi, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and a member of the Lurie Cancer Center, has been awarded a $450,000 research grant from Susan G. Komen.  

The award will be used to conduct a preclinical laboratory study to determine the utility of a potential targeted therapy against triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). A clinically challenging form of the disease, TNBC is the only form of breast cancer for which no FDA-approved targeted therapies currently exist.

The primary focus of Horiuchi’s lab, established in 2015, is on the mechanisms of tumor progression in TNBC, and identifying novel and safer therapeutic targets and treatment strategies in order to significantly lower mortality rate associated with TNBC. According to Horiuchi, the lack of targeted therapies for TNBC is because so little is understood about how TNBC occurs and progresses.

“We have identified a promising target called PIM kinase,” says Horiuchi. “Now we would like to expand our prior studies to establish PIM inhibition as a clinically relevant targeted therapy specifically against the most problematic subset of TNBC that appears to be driven by the MYC oncoprotein. We hope that the successful completion of this study will result in the initiation of early-phase clinical trials here at Northwestern.”

Building on its goal to reduce breast cancer deaths in the U.S. by 50% over the next decade, Komen is funding projects across the continuum of breast cancer research, including research into metastatic disease, novel treatments for aggressive types of breast cancer, new technologies and health equity.