Cancer Institute

Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute



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Breast Cancer Research

Dr. Phillip Koeffler's hematology/oncology research group is exploring molecular causes of breast cancer and novel forms of therapy for the disease, including retinoids. This research is supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute and the U.S. Army.

Dr. Koeffler and his research team have found that antidiabetic agents, Rosiglitazone and Pioglitazone, and all-trans-retinoic acid work together to inhibit growth of breast cancer cells.

This was shown initially in the lab using five different breast cancer cell lines, then by growing human tumors in mice and treating them with either Rosiglitazone or Pioglitazone and retinoids.

For centuries, arsenic-based remedies have been used in China for treating a variety of ailments. More recently, arsenic was used to treat a certain type of leukemia in Chinese patients who were not responding to traditional therapies, including retinoic acid. Dr. Koeffler's research group found that arsenic in the form of melarsoprol (currently being used for treating some parasitic diseases) creates potent anti-cancer activity in breast cancer.

Resveratrol, a derivative from the outer skin of red grapes, has demonstrated a moderately potent anti-breast cancer effect by inhibiting growth and changes in these cells. Further study is required to discover the causes of this cell action.

To view a list of current clinical trials relating to breast cancer, visit our Clinical Trials Directory.