This has certainly been a newsworthy summer for women in sports, from our US Soccer team taking the World Cup title to Serena Williams winning her 21st Grand Slam title. What’s even more exciting to me is that it’s also been a great summer for women scientists conducting pancreatic cancer research!
Our 2014 Seed Grant Recipient Rushika Perera, PhD, became the fourth female researcher we have worked with to make headlines these past few months. Findings from her research grant titled “MiT/TFE transcription factors are required metabolic reprograming in pancreatic cancer” (Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School) were just published in Nature, one of the most distinguished scientific journals.
After reading her article, I asked Rushika to translate the work into lay language for all of us. In her own words, she says “This paper provides new insights into how a largely neglected ‘garbarge can’ in the cell (the lysosome) is a critical regulator of how cells obtain and process nutrients. We show that increased function of the lysosome is essential for pancreatic cancer cells to gain adequate nourishment to fuel their rapid growth.” Upon hearing this, I immediately asked her “If we block the lysosomes, can we block the growth of cancer cells?” Her answer was yes and the findings can now be translated into a new target for treatment!
Rushika added “As a recipient of a Hirshberg Foundation Seed Grant, your support greatly contributed to accelerating the publication of our findings. Thank you!”
In turn, I want to thank each and every one of you – our supporters – for continuing to believe in our quest to identify new treatment options! We are one step closer to a cancer free life!
This grant was made possible by the Levine Family and friends, in memory of Jill Levine.