Former Ohio State Buckeye and NFL linebacker Chris Spielman met with recipients of grants from the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research on July 22 to learn about their research and how it is helping advance the fight against breast cancer, the disease that his late wife Stefanie, the fund’s namesake, battled many years before passing away in 2009.
The Spielman Fund has raised more than $15 million for breast cancer research at the OSUCCC – James.
Researchers from Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute shared their findings with Spielman, who listened and asked questions, evidencing his signature attention to detail to the issue that has become a cornerstone of his life’s work.
All three projects look toward potential targeted therapies for triple negative breast cancers—a particularly aggressive type of breast cancer that can be challenging to treat. With Ohio State’s atmosphere of collaboration and generous funding from the Spielman Fund, this research has the potential to make a worldwide impact on the disease.
- Robert Brueggemeier, PhD, is leading an early-stage drug discovery collaboration between pharmacy and molecular genetics. Now in the proof of concept stage, this project is investigating breast cancer cell growth and MPS1, a protein often found to be elevated in breast cancer patients— especially those for whom other treatments have failed. Findings from this Spielman-funded study are enabling the publication of a research paper and proposals to National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense to continue the drug’s development.
- Ramesh Ganju, PhD, is working to develop a therapy against triple negative and metastatic breast cancer that targets both the tumor and the areas surrounding tumors. Early findings have shown great promise, as tumors in mice receiving this therapy have shown significantly reduced growth and spread. Thanks to funding from the Spielman Fund and a Pelotonia Idea Grant, Ganju recently secured funding from the National Cancer Institute that will enable new discoveries.
- Erin Macrae, MD, is biopsying patients’ breast cancer tumors to examine genetic alterations and provide new treatment options based on her findings. Part of her research involves monitoring whether doctors pursue those alternative treatment options for patients. Supported in part by the Spielman Fund, this project has positioned Ohio State as leader of a nationwide study and netted a career development award for Macrae, providing three years of support to continue her research.
Spielman praised the researchers’ accomplishments, saying, “When I am out speaking with folks fighting this disease, I want to be able to give them a reason to hope. You are doing that right here at The James, and I really appreciate it.”