One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Now, one scientist at the University of Central Florida is earning accolades for her research that is stopping cancer cells in their tracks.
Graciela Abrams is a mom, a wife and has a full-time career. She never thought this would be possible 20 years ago when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 22.
Graciela commented, “Just graduated college, I’m looking forward to a future, and for someone to tell you ‘hey you have cancer,’ it’s like, stops your world in a second.”
When Graciela went into remission a year later, she became a champion for others. Her cancer was found early and was treatable, but for people whose cancer has metastasized …
“The survival rates are really low. And even most of the therapies they improve survival for just a few months.” Annette Khaled, PhD, at University of Central Florida explained.
Currently, the five-year survival rate for women with metastatic breast cancer is 26 percent. Annette Khaled is looking to change that.
Khaled continued, “What we’re trying to develop is a therapy that we can hit the cancer cell at a very critical point in their biology and the things that they need to survive.”
Khaled is using nanotechnology to deliver a compound to cancer cells and kill them before they spread their damage.
“I’m really hoping that what we have in our hands is something that will not only improve survival for more than just a few months into years, may actually even lead to a cure,” said Khaled.
Her efforts in cancer research have earned her the nickname “The Cancer Assassin,” a title she doesn’t mind at all.
Khaled explained, “I think it is great because I think it gives hope.”
Khaled’s new technology has generated a licensing agreement from SEVA Therapeutics Inc., a Massachusetts-based pre-clinical biotechnology company, which will accelerate the therapy’s path to clinical trials.