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Johns Hopkins breast cancer researcher wins BioMaryland LIFE Prize

October 21, 2017

Sukumar, who is also a professor of oncology and pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, says the methylated gene biomarkers her team discovered may better predict how patients whose breast cancers are estrogen receptor (ER) negative will respond to various treatments. With further refinement, the biomarkers could show if patients are responding to therapy and if they're at risk for future recurrences. Sukumar says she hopes her biomarker-based test will someday help the nearly 25,000 women diagnosed with ER-negative breast cancer each year and who unnecessarily undergo chemotherapy. "The goal is to identify patients who won't benefit from chemotherapy so they can try out new modalities as a first-line therapy instead of going through treatment that will never help them," Sukumar says. She says she'll use the award funds to refine groups of markers to predict disease progression and response to therapy for women with breast cancer.

Governor Martin O'Malley commented on the award, which the state supports via the Maryland Biotechnology Center. "In Maryland, we are fortunate to have within our borders some of the world's best and brightest scientific minds. We are pleased to partner with our world-class universities to create jobs and support efforts to promote innovation to assert our State as a hub of research and discovery."

Source: Johns Hopkins