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Baylor College of Medicine News

Dr. Jeffrey Rosen awarded Komen Brinker Award for basic science

Dr. Jeffrey Rosen, the C.C. Bell Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Baylor College of Medicine, has been selected to receive the Susan G. Komen for the Cure 2010 Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Research.

The award recognizes basic scientists for their career achievements in breast cancer.

Rosen's research focuses on the normal development of the mammary gland, the organ in our body that produces milk, and the hormonal control of mammary gland gene expression. With that as a basis, he has gone on to research what causes women to develop breast cancer.

"We have to first understand normal development in order to elucidate the alterations which occur in breast cancer," said Rosen, a member of the NCI-designated Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center. "There are multiple different cell types in the mammary gland and each has a complex role. We want to understand what mechanisms might cause breast cancer."

Rosen was one of the first scientists to consider the existence of tumor-initiating cells (also called cancer stem cells) in solid tumors. He and his team went on to identify such cells, and, even more importantly, the reasons why these cells might be resistant to conventional radiation and chemotherapy.

Partnering with colleagues, his work has gone into the clinic, targeting the tumor-initiating cells in the tumors of women with advanced disease.

"This is a major national award for breast cancer research," said Dr. Bert O'Malley, chair and professor of molecular and cellular biology at BCM. "We are extremely proud of Dr. Rosen and his significant contributions to the field of breast cancer research."

The award will be presented during a ceremony at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium on Dec. 9, 2010.