Clevenger Recognized for Discoveries in Breast Cancer
PA) -Charles Clevenger, MD, PhD, of the University
of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, has been awarded
the Pfizer Outstanding Investigator Award for his ongoing
work on prolactin's role in breast cancer. The American
Society of Investigative Pathology presented the award,
which consists of $3000 and a bronze medallion, at the
Experimental Biology 2003 meeting in San Diego, CA.
Clevenger, an Associate Professor in Penn's
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, first
demonstrated how prolactin, a naturally occurring hormone
needed for milk production, has a role in the advancement
and spread of breast cancer. In the 1990s, Clevenger
was able to show that breast tissue itself produces
prolactin in significant quantities and that more than
95 percent of all breast cancers express the prolactin
receptor, meaning prolactin was active in the tumors.
He was also able to show how prolactin organized the
breast cancer cells to move from the breast to other
parts of the body.
Recently, Clevenger discovered that prolactin,
unlike all other peptide hormones, functions directly
inside the cell. Prolactin, attached to a chaperone
protein, affects changes to the cell's genetic machinery,
turning certain genes on or off. 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.
"Charles Clevenger is a tenacious researcher
who is deserving of this recognition," said Mark
Tykocinski, MD, Chair of Penn's Department of Pathology
and Laboratory Medicine and past recipient of what is
now the Pfizer Outstanding Investigator Award. "His
tireless efforts have produced some tremendous findings
that have changed the way we look at breast cancer."
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