Using Inflammation as a Target for Breast Cancer Therapies
Carlo Bifulco, M.D.,Assistant Professor of Pathology
Inflammation in tissues and cells is the body’s response to attack by disease-producing processes. However, certain aspects of the inflammatory process may contribute to the development and progression of abnormal cell growth and cancerous tumors. Dr. Bilfulco’s research was designed to validate inflammation as a target of therapy for cancers most likely found in women (such as breast cancer), and to identify groups of patients most sensitive to anti-inflammatory chemoprevention efforts.
Highlighted Study Findings
Dr. Bifulco’s funded study explored the role of macrophage migration-inhibitory factor, or MIF, in breast and gynecological cancers. MIF is a regulator of the body’s innate immune system and inflammatory response, and affects multiple processes related to cancer. Thus it is believed to be a good candidate as a target for potential drugs to limit its effect on cancer development. Dr. Bifulco’s laboratory analyses focused on the potential association between an inherited predisposition to MIF hyper-secretion and four different types of malignancies: breast and ovarian carcinomas, as well as melanoma and Hodgkins Lymphona. This study’s results provided support for an association between MIF hyper-secretion and the risk of development and severity of human malignancies, particularly with respect to melanoma and prostate cancer. Further work was under way to evaluate the potential of inhibiting MIF’s effects on tumor generation and growth, as a means of combating cancers such as melanoma.