Brian Rowan, Ph.D., professor of Cancer Research for the Tulane Cancer Center, is studying treatment options for an aggressive type of breast cancer that is prevalent in New Orleans among African-American women triple-negative breast cancer. The term triple-negative refers to the fact that these tumors do not have estrogen, progesterone or HER2 receptors, effectively eliminating hormonal and targeted herceptin therapy from the list of possible treatment options. This limits therapeutic choices for these patients to surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
Rowan is studying a therapy that targets a protein called Src kinase, which is required for tumor growth in triple negative breast cancer. Rowan and his team are working with Kinex Pharmaceuticals in Buffalo, N.Y. to test a new Src inhibitor called KX-01. Phase I trials for this new drug are complete and preliminary results indicate that KX-01 kills triple-negative breast cancer cells in both Petri dishes and in animal tumor models. “KX-01 in combination with chemotherapy kills even more cancer cells,” said Rowan.
He hopes to begin Phase II trials for KX-01 alone or in combination with chemotherapy for triple-negative breast cancer patients here in New Orleans by 2010.
Rowan is available to talk about the prevalence of triple-negative breast cancer and the future of drug treatments to stop its progression. He is also an expert in understanding the roles of nuclear receptors estrogen, progesterone, and HER2 in breast cancer treatment, and understanding the role of mesenchymal stem cells in breast cancer metastasis to the bone.