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PBCC Awards Dr. Andrea Mastro a Research Grant

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Dr. Mastro PBCC grant26 January 2016 - The Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition (PBCC) honored Penn State researcher Dr. Andrea Mastro with a $50,000 grant in support of her cancer research. Dr. Mastro is currently a Professor of Microbiology and Cell Biology in The Eberly College of Science.

PBCC founder and board president, Pat Halpin-Murphy, told the crowd how each year the PBCC awards $50,000 grants to the best breast cancer researchers in the state.

A peer committee of other top researchers in the field chooses recipients of the grant. Penn State researcher, Dr. Yanming Wang was awarded the same grant in 2014, and Dr. Andrea Mastro also was awarded the grant in 2003.

The award is funded by the PBCC from Pennsylvania citizens who donated a portion of their state tax refund to research. Although these contributions have decreased significantly over the past five years, four $50,000 grants were awarded this year with a couple of the grants funded by anonymous donations.

The funds Dr. Mastro received will help support research to understand the process by which metastatic breast cancer cells colonize bone. The focus of this work is metastatic, osteolytic breast cancer cells that tend to travel to the bone marrow. They are interested in the interactions between the breast cancer cells and osteoblasts and use cell culture, 3D bioreactor and in vivo models to investigate the colonization process. Using a method developed by Siyang Zheng, co-investigator, to isolate the live circulating tumor cells, the Mastro lab plans to grow these cells in a bone-like microenvironment.

In her acceptance remarks, Dr. Mastro thanked the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition for this grant for further research, all the researchers in her lab, her collaborator, Dr. Siyang Zheng, and Matt Wise a representative for Senator Jake Corman for their support.

Be a part of the fight, please visit the PA Breast Cancer Coalition website on ways to give. The PBCC has been the voice for breast cancer survivors in PA since 1993.

Link to video recapping the event: