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Funding from Making Strides Against Breast Cancer helps RPI research | News

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Funding from Making Strides Against Breast Cancer helps RPI research
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ALBANY - Albany is gearing up to host thousands of walkers who hope their effort can help find a cure for breast cancer.   

In fact, money already raised by Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is already funding promising research here in the Capital Region.  

NewsChannel 13 visited with a researcher at RPI who said, without funding, her work might not be possible.

Novel research into breast cancer is taking place in this lab on the RPI campus. It is directed by Dr. Lee Ligon and she is looking into what happens when cancer cells physically interact with healthy cells.

“That physical contact has consequences for the behavior of those cancers. So in some cases it actually allows those cancer cells to continue to invade and migrate to other tissues and other organs and basically colonize them. And in some cases, the cells in surround areas actually put the brakes on the cancers and tell those cancer cells to stop growing,” said Dr. Lee Ligon.

So, why do some healthy cells say come on in and others say, get lost? Since the invasive cancers are the most deadly, finding a way to always put the brakes on would be revolutionary. Dr. Ligon and her team may have found a ray of light on this process.

“Well, we found that there's actually a novel um, protein, that is actually mediating these interactions, something that was totally unexpected that had not actually been found in cancer, before,” said Ligon.

Seed money from RPI enabled Dr. Ligon to start her work five years ago, but it's money from the American Cancer Society, raised through events like Making Strides Against Breast Cancer that has kept it going. Paying for the tools and researchers, it's an investment that might just yield fabulous dividends.

“Well, if you can stop the invasion before it happens or when it's in the very preliminary stages, that's sort of the holy grail for cancer,” said Ligon.

The big Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk takes place Saturday, Oct. 16 in Albany's Washington Park.   

For more information or to sign up click here.

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