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Project Team: Hyeran Choi, M.S; Lab Technician and Marc Purazo, B.S; Graduate Student

Hyeran Marc

Human epidermal growth factor receptor positive (HER2+) breast cancers have been shown to be responsive to monoclonal antibody therapies, however, due to gained resistance, patients usually relapsed after only a short time.  Many HER2+ breast cancers show overexpression of neural precursor cell expressed developmentally down-regulated protein 9 (NEDD9). NEDD9 plays an important role in cell cycle progression, migration, adhesion and invasion. NEDD9 has been shown to be an indicator of poor prognosis in various cancers. Previous studies have shown that deletion of NEDD9 is critical in the formation of breast tumors induced by high HER2 expression in mice. Our current project investigates the role of NEDD9 overexpression in HER2 tumorigenesis using mouse models and patient-derived platforms. The NEDD9-Her2 signaling promotes early tumorigenesis and might potentially explain how HER2+ breast cancers become resistant to Herceptin.  These findings will allow for novel NEDD9-targeting therapies to be developed to reduce HER2 tumor growth and increase sensitivity to HER2+ therapies.