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Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center Investigator Named to Cancer “Dream Team”

May 29, 2009

Patient Advocate also Included on Research Panel Funded by Entertainment Industry

Carlos L. Arteaga, M.D.Carlos L. Arteaga, M.D., professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology and director of the Breast Cancer Program at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, has been named to one of the international cancer research “Dream Teams” funded by Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), a charitable initiative of The Entertainment Industry Foundation. The entire team will receive a $15 million grant to support the three-year research program

SU2C, launched with a live TV event featuring Hollywood and sports celebrities, has awarded the first round of three-year grants, totaling $73.6 million, to five international research Dream Teams. The SU2C campaign is designed to accelerate the pace of groundbreaking research designed to deliver new cancer treatments to patients. The majority of the funds were raised in connection with the SU2C telecast on September 5, 2008 which aired on the ABC, NBC and CBS networks.

Arteaga, as well as Patricia Lee, a patient advocate, will be a part of the Dream Team initiative entitled, “Targeting the PI3K Pathway in Women’s Cancers.” The PI3K is mutated or abnormally activated in several human neoplasias, including breast cancer.

“The goal of this Dream Team is to discover approaches that will predict patients with breast, ovarian and uterine cancer who will respond to PI3K pathway inhibitors, thereby accelerating drug approvals and ultimately providing tests for personalized cancer treatment that can be incorporated into the standard of care,” said Arteaga, who was recently named to the Donna S. Hall Chair in Breast Cancer. “I am thrilled our Breast Cancer Research Program is part of this multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary effort as it will allow us to be at the forefront and contribute to this exciting area of translational research.”

Arteaga holds the Vice Chancellor’s Chair in Breast Cancer Research and is director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant program funded by the National Cancer Institute. He is known internationally for his study of signaling by receptors of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) family and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) and their roles in breast tumor cells.

“Carlos Arteaga is one of our most creative and productive research leaders and he is an exceptional cancer investigator,” said David H. Johnson, M.D., Cornelius Abernathy Craig Professor of Medical and Surgical Oncology, and deputy director of Vanderbilt-Ingram.

Arteaga  is one of six principal investigators named to this Dream Team, which includes Lewis C. Cantley, Ph.D., Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Mass., Charles L. Sawyers, M.D., Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, N.Y.,  Gordon B. Mills, M.D., Ph.D., M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Tx., Jose? Baselga, M.D., Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, Barcelona, Spain and Ramon Parsons, M.D., Ph.D., Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbia University, New York, N.Y.

Vanderbilt-Ingram Patient Advocate Patricia Lee also has been named to this research Dream Team. Each team includes at least two members from patient advocacy groups to ensure that the perspective of patients and survivors is represented in the research process.

Lee, a breast cancer survivor since 1999, joined the Vanderbilt-Ingram Breast SPORE in 2005 as a research advocate. She also serves on the Breast Cancer Tumor Board, and has been accepted as a consumer reviewer for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research program.

The Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center is a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of two centers in Tennessee and 40 in the country to earn this highest distinction. Its nearly 300 faculty members generate more than $140 million in annual federal research funding, ranking it among the top 10 centers in the country in competitive grant support, and its clinical program sees approximately 4,000 new cancer patients each year. Vanderbilt-Ingram, based in Nashville, Tenn., recently joined with 21 of the world’s leading centers in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a non-profit alliance dedicated to improving cancer care for patients everywhere.