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Major UNR Breakthrough On Metastatic Breast Cancer Highlights Need For More Research Funding

Amy Westervelt



Dr. Iain Buxton has cured breast cancer -- in mice. He says his isn’t the only team to have made such strides, but a lot of promising research is getting stuck in labs due to a lack of research funding.


“Not enough grants are funded. Seven out of a hundred about -- that's Draconian. Because we're not talking about 93 of those grants coming from schlock scientists. Every one of them comes from a highly qualified place and person. So we're talking about the best of the best and we're not supporting them. This is a major problem.”

Still, Buxton and his team, at the UNR Department of Pharmacology, believe they’ve cracked the code of metastasis. In the context of breast cancer, that means they’ve figured out how cancer cells from the breast move to other parts of the body, where they develop into terminal cancer. Buxton says they now understand how that migration works, and what tends to trigger tumor growth, and have pinpointed two drugs that effectively stop it from happening. 

The lab has patented its findings, and now it’s just a matter of – you guessed it – funding.

“I'd love it if we had a partnership with a pharmaceutical firm interested in pursuing this.” 

In the meantime, the lab is continuing to monitor its mice and build evidence around its cancer findings. 

Amy Westervelt is a former contributor at KUNR Public Radio.
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