2020 Undergraduate Research Showcase


Metastatic Breast Cancer and the Road to Drug Discovery

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Lisa Warner


It is projected that 271,270 people in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019. Of those people with metastatic breast cancer, only 27% will live to see the 5-year mark. The pleiotropic IL-6 cytokine Oncostatin M (OSM) has been shown to influence the metastasis of breast cancer. OSM is secreted by immune cells associated with inflammatory response. When OSM collects at a stationary tumor site, causing chronic inflammation, the mobility of cancer cells is stimulated allowing for metastasis to occur. The overall aim of this research is to purify large quantities of OSM so that structural analyses can be conducted to further understand how OSM interacts with small molecule inhibitors (SMI’s). Future work will include X-ray crystallography and co-crystallization with SMI’s that will work to inhibit cancer cells from moving throughout the body. Thousands of lives could be saved by producing an SMI based oral medication.

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