Grant Funds Research – Environmental Link To Breast Cancer

Cancer Research, News — By on October 23, 2008 at 9:09 am

A foundation that funds research that examines the environmental causes of breast cancer has awarded a grant to a post-doctoral associate at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Betina J. Lew, Ph.D., currently studies the effects of exposure to dioxin on the development of the mammary gland during pregnancy. Thanks to the $15,000 grant from the Art beCAUSE Breast Cancer Foundation, Lew will begin a pilot project looking at the possible role of exposure to pollutants in increased risk of developing breast cancer.

Her work will focus on the aryl hydrocarbon receptor, one of many molecules that play a role in the proper development of the mammary gland. Scientists already know that the molecule is a target of pollutants like dioxin and even cigarette smoke. Changes in the receptor’s behavior can alter normal cellular growth and proliferation.

“Breast cancer is an enigmatic disease,” said Lew. “Only 10 percent of cases are related to genetics.

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