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BCRFA Funds UAB Research on Effects of Obesity and Diabetes on Breast Cancer

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama recently awarded $10,000 in funding to a researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. Lalita Shevde-Samant
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Dr. Lalita Shevde-Samant, Professor in the Department of Pathology and the Associate Director of Cancer Research Training and Education Coordination (CRTEC), received support for her research examining the molecular impact of obesity and diabetes on breast cancer.

Dr. Shevde-Samant’s group analyzed data from 11,241 female patients with malignant breast cancer between 2003 and 2020 and found that pre-existing conditions of obesity and diabetes negatively impact survival outcomes in breast cancer patients.

For this work, Dr. Shevde-Samant’s goal is to learn more about how obesity and high blood sugar levels can affect breast cancer and potentially find new ways to treat it. This is especially relevant for Alabama, a state where over 15% of adults have diabetes, and of these 80% are overweight-to-obese.

BCRFA funding will support Dr. Shevde-Samant’s use of a new technology called 10X digital spatial profiling to study in mice mammary tumors how changes in the body’s metabolism can alter the cells of the tumor, which can accelerate the spread of cancer to other parts of the body.

10X digital spatial profiling is a cutting-edge tool that allows scientists to study the activity of genes within different types of cells in a tissue sample and how they interact with each other. This information can help them understand how certain diseases develop and how to better treat them.

With this understanding, Dr. Shevde-Samant’s team can explore interventions that might reverse these effects and prevent cancer from spreading.

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