Prolactin, a naturally occurring peptide hormone needed for milk production following pregnancy, has been found to play a major role in the development and spread of breast cancer. More recently, Dr. Charles Clevenger, the same researcher who first demonstrated the scope and mechanism of prolactins role in cancer, has discovered that prolactin functions directly inside the cell, not merely by sending signals across the cell membrane as had been assumed for it and all other peptide hormones.
Dr. Clevenger also has discovered how prolactin is able to travel across the cell membrane and directly into the DNA machinery of the cell. These findings suggest a pathway through which new therapies could block the growth and spread of breast cancer -- and offer a new paradigm for how other hormones function, not just in breast cancer but in a number of other diseases.
The University of Pennsylvania researcher describes his research at the Experimental Biology 2003 meetings in San Diego. He will be honored by the American Society of Investigative Pathology, at the EB 2003 meeting, with the Pfizer Outstanding Investigator Award. The award honors a decade of steady unraveling, by Dr. Clevenger, of how prolactin works in breast cancer, including this most recent discovery.
Sarah Goodwin | EurekAlert!
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