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College of Pharmacy

Novel Cancer Research Grant Awarded from American Cancer Society

Posted on: November 8, 2019

The future of cancer research is being conducted within the walls of the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy.

Ozgur Sahin, Ph.D., associate professor in Drug Discovery & Biomedical Sciences, has received a Research Scholar Grant from the American Cancer Society (ACS) that could impact the way many breast cancer patients will be treated in the future.

Among the 1.5 million people around the world who receive a diagnosis of breast cancer, 65% will be diagnosed with estrogen receptor positive (ER-positive) type cancer. Statistics indicate that, despite initial treatments that may lead to remission, this cancer can return in a more aggressive form and may have metastasized or spread to other areas of the body. The grant, totaling nearly $800 thousand dollars over four years, will support Sahin’s project to study the ability to overcome tamoxifen resistance and block metastasis in breast cancer. Tamoxifen is a drug commonly used to treat patients with ER-positive type cancer.

Our hope is that the research results from this grant will lay the foundation for repositioning available drugs that will prevent patients from becoming resistant to their treatments ...

Ozgur Sahin, Ph.D., Associate Professor

“Our hope is that the research results from this grant will lay the foundation for repositioning available drugs that will prevent patients from becoming resistant to their treatments and to keep the cancer from returning and spreading to other areas of the body,” Sahin says.

Preliminary studies have identified a specific protein and RNA molecule that are present at higher levels in tamoxifen-resistant cancer cells. Because inhibitors for this protein are already available and used in treating other diseases such as psoriasis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease, Sahin’s study will determine if these inhibitors will translate in reducing the drug resistance in cancer cells.

In acknowledging the work of Sahin, UofSC College of Pharmacy Dean Stephen Cutler notes the competition for these grants is extremely high. “This award represents that your peers on the Study section recognize the significance of your work,” he says.


Students interested in joining Sahin’s research group, may contact him at sahin@cop.sc.edu.

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