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Revlon/UCLA Breast Center: Westwood Location, 200 UCLA Medical Plaza, Los Angeles

Research

For more information, please contact the
Clinical Trials Unit at (310) 267-0499

EIF/Women's Cancer Research Fund

Dr. Helena Chang, Director of the Revlon/UCLA Breast Center was recently chosen by the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) and the Women's Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) to receive an award to study whether structured exercise intervention can become an effective modality in managing breast cancer. The study will allow us to learn the feasibility of adding exercise during their cancer treatment, to understand the effects of exercise on breasts and on cells and to develop methods that accurately measure one's physical activity and its protective effect. This extraordinary gift gives the opportunity for Dr. Chang and her research team to develop a strategy employing exercise in preventing cancer recurrence after standard treatment.

Since 2006, the EIF/WCRF has funded more than one million dollars in support of Dr. Chang's research and her efforts in caring for the women who seek their care at the Revlon/UCLA Breast Center. The awards have greatly enhanced our understanding of breast cancer and improved our care for women with breast cancer.

Clinical Trial Unit for Breast Cancer

Dr. Helena Chang developed the Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) for Breast Cancer to bring discoveries from the bench to bedside. The CTU manages all on-going clinical research trials at the Revlon/UCLA Breast Center and helps to facilitate the collaboration between the clinic and laboratory. The CTU is responsible for developing clinical protocols, data management and monitoring as well as compliance to regulations and reporting findings.
 
Current projects include:

  • Clinical studies to examine biomarkers secreted in body fluids and their role in detection of early breast cancer.
  • Studies treating various types of breast cancer with pre-operative treatment and to identify predictors for tumor response to treatment.
  • Studies tailored to targeting tumors to improve cure and to avoid excessive treatment.

Laboratory Research in Breast Cancer

Current breast cancer detection relies on breast examination and mammography with both modalities having fundamental limitations. The goal of Dr. Chang's research is to develop a blood test for breast cancer detection that can be used by women of all ages. Blood, urine, and nipple fluid from women with and without breast cancer are being compared for their protein compositions. The unique proteins and peptides characteristic of breast cancer, termed cancer biomarkers, will be identified by proteomic analysis, with the ultimate goal to develop a laboratory test for breast cancer screening that is safe, accurate, easy to perform and affordable.

Using the same technology, Dr. Chang is investigating another longstanding challenge faced by both doctors and patients. It has been long recognized that breast cancers of the same stage that appear similarly under the microscope and are treated identically may have very different outcomes: some are cured and others fail. The differences reside in the molecular makeup of each type of breast cancer. Therefore, uncovering the molecular signatures of different types of breast cancers holds great promise for the personalization of drug treatment. Dr. Chang's research team maps the protein biomarkers of breast cancers with distinctively different biological behaviors and clinical outcomes.

The novel tumor biomarkers discovered will be used to detect and destroy the emerging breast cancer cells. Other studies designed to deliver more conservative yet equally effective treatment are also underway at the Revlon/UCLA Breast Center.

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