A $7.8 million Breast Cancer Research Program Innovator Award from the U.S. Department of Defense to Dr. Bert O’Malley, chair of molecular and cellular biology at Baylor College of Medicine, will fund the development of new coactivator therapies for breast cancer.

The five-year award, funded through the office of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs of the DOD, involved three stages: a personal review of career accomplishments, submission of a formal written scientific application and an in-person interview by a committee of 20 scientists in Washington, D.C.

The grant, titled "Development of Coactivator-Dependent, First-in-Class Therapies for Breast Cancer," is one of no more than three such programs funded across the nation.

"This award will help us in the development of novel therapies for breast cancer built on our basic research into the effect of steroid receptor coactivators on the development of breast cancer," said O’Malley.

O’Malley, who found the first steroid receptor coactivator (SRC-1) has pioneered the field of coactivators for nuclear receptors in gene transcription. Coactivators contribute to the process of gene transcription through a special series of "coding" activities including phosphorylation, methylation and ubiquitination. He is a co-director of the Nuclear Receptor Signaling Atlas (NURSA), a trans-NIH consortium.