Dr. Stephanie Bishop’s publication in Nature Partner Journal

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Congratulations to Stephanie Bishop, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the School of Pharmacy, for her contributions to the manuscript entitled “BCL9/STAT3 regulation of transcriptional enhancer networks promote DCIS progression”, published in the Nature Partner Journal Breast Cancer. Below you will find an abstract written by Dr. Bishop of the manuscript:

A breast cancer diagnosis often elicits myriad emotions and questions regarding the likelihood that a tumor will progress from ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) to invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC).  A dearth of validated biomarkers that correlate with the risk of metastasis stymies definitive and efficacious treatment options.  Thus, in order to preserve patient health and peace of mind, difficult and controversial decisions are made regarding treatment. 

The Behbod laboratory previously discovered that B-cell lymphoma-9 protein, or BCL9, is upregulated in many breast tumors as they progress from DCIS to IDC, however the causal and/or correlative mechanism whereby BCL9 contributed to invasive progression was unknown.  Elucidating this mechanism would not only confer an additional therapeutic target, it could also serve as a critical biomarker for patients’ risk of invasive progression.

Relying on a variety of sophisticated in vitro and in vivo approaches, this manuscript presents two seminal findings:  first, BCL9 contributes to invasive progression by regulating expression of integrin β-3 and matrix metalloproteinase 16, which enhance cellular invasion and proliferation.  Second, administration of rosemary extract and its major ingredient, carnosic acid, prevent progression of DCIS to IDC.  Together, these promising results yield a new therapeutic target and lead compound, which warrant further investigation into new protein targets and molecular scaffolds that inhibit invasive progression.  Continued efforts towards these goals shall yield improved diagnostic and therapeutic tools, which will serve breast cancer patients and their providers.  Because other cancers such as bladder, lung, ovarian, and liver also exhibit increased BCL9 expression, the future directions proposed in this manuscript show promise for inhibiting progression to invasion in these cancers as well.