RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC – ZenBio Inc. has been awarded a Phase II SBIR grant to continue its breast cancer research program. The $1.2 million award from the National Institutes of Health will fund studies to isolate and characterize primary basal and luminal mammary ductal cells from cancerous and non-cancerous human breast tissue.
Investigations point to a critical role for luminal cells in cancer progression and as therapeutic targets. The scarcity of primary human luminal cells from normal and cancer tissues has made it difficult for researchers to perform comparative studies to investigate the etiology, progression, and potential cures of breast cancer.
To address this need, ZenBio is developing methods to isolate and propagate donor matched luminal and basal cells as a human cell-based model system.
“Our Phase I studies established basic methods to isolate both basal and luminal cells from the same donor tissue” said Ben Buehrer, Ph.D., ZenBio’s Vice President and Principal Investigator of the program.
“The Phase II program extends these studies to include breast cancer cells and comparative analyses to non-diseased cells. Our overall goal is to provide a well characterized model system of matched normal and malignant cells for basic and discovery research that may lead to novel discoveries and effective therapeutics.”
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