McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

New funds spark cancer research

Published: September 14, 2011

The rate of breast cancer in overweight, postmenopausal women is about 50 per cent higher than in those who are not overweight. While research has shown a link between breast cancer and diet, the mechanisms that underpin this relationship are not well understood.

Now, a researcher from McMaster University will examine the biological processes involved in the breakdown of fat in the body and how this may contribute to breast cancer progression.

Katja Linher-Melville, a post-doctoral fellow in Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, has received $142,500 over three years from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation to research the biology of breast cancer, specifically the relationship between prolactin and altered fatty acid metabolism in breast cancer cells. By researching differences in these processes in healthy cells and breast cancer cells, she’s hoping to uncover new therapeutic targets as well as risk-reduction strategies through increased evidence about the link between diet and breast cancer.

Linher-Melville is one of six McMaster investigators to be awarded more than $1.1 million in funding from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Other recipients of research and fellowship grants include: Brian Lichty, an associate professor in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine; Hao Peng, an assistant professor in the Department of Medical Physics and Applied Radiation Sciences; Qian Liu, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences; and Breanne Cuddington and Amy Gillgrass, PhD students in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine.

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