Arteaga Earns Komen Award

October 7, 2011

Carlos L. Arteaga, M.D.

Carlos L. Arteaga, M.D., professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology and associate director for Clinical Research at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC), has been named one of the winners of this year’s Susan G. Komen for the Cure Brinker Awards for Scientific Distinction.

The Brinker Awards for Scientific Distinction were established in 1992 to recognize the efforts of pioneers in clinical research and basic science. They are the highest awards of merit given by the breast cancer organization.

Arteaga will receive the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for his work explaining the role of several key proteins and growth factor receptors in the pathogenesis of breast cancer. His translational research helped provide the rationale for several new targeted cancer therapies.

“The Susan G. Komen organization has been a wonderful partner and champion in our breast cancer research efforts and I am deeply honored to be chosen for this award,” said Arteaga. “The support of this leading nonprofit foundation has been a critical element in our work to discover novel treatments for this disease.”

Arteaga’s research has been instrumental in characterizing the role of several key pathways in breast cancer, including those responsible for cell growth, division and metastasis. His early work focused on the TGF-β (transforming growth factor beta) network in cells taking on metastatic properties. Arteaga was the first to demonstrate their role in breast cancer initiation and metastasis.

His seminal findings laid the groundwork for targeting TGF-β with cancer drugs, an area that is currently under active clinical investigation.

Some of his work helped provide the rationale for using trastuzumab in combination with chemotherapy for more effective treatment of HER2+ breast cancer. This research also contributed to the foundation for subsequent use of trastuzumab combined with EGF receptor inhibitors to treat HER2+ breast cancer.

His team is currently exploring the mechanisms of drug resistance in breast cancer, particularly to EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) and HER2 inhibitors, and the discovery of biomarkers of drug action and resistance to anti-estrogen therapy.

Arteaga holds the Donna S. Hall Chair in Breast Cancer Research and is associate director for Clinical Research at VICC. He also directs the Breast Cancer Program of the National Cancer Institute-designated VICC.

He received his medical degree at the University of Guayaquil in Ecuador. He trained in Internal Medicine at Emory University in Atlanta, then completed a fellowship in Medical Oncology at the UT Health Sciences Center in San Antonio, Texas.

The second Brinker Award recipient is Armando E. Giuliano, M.D., executive vice chair of Surgery for Surgical Oncology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

The two winners will deliver keynote lectures and receive their awards Dec. 7 at the 34th annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, a major international gathering of breast cancer researchers, clinicians and patient advocates.

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