Representing the Junior Coalition of the Manhasset (L.I.) Women’s Coalition Against Breast Cancer, the students had raised funds for their donation at several recent dances. The Junior Coalition was in fact one of three Long Island-based breast cancer support groups who visited CSHL on a recent evening, each presenting checks specifically targeted to support the cutting-edge breast cancer research being performed by Mikala Egeblad, Ph.D., who will join the CSHL faculty full-time in February 2009.
Altogether, the Junior Coalition, the Long Island 2-Day Walk to Fight Breast Cancer, and the West Islip Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. gave checks totaling $53,500 to support Dr. Egeblad’s research. The Joni Gladowsky Foundation donated an additional $40,000.
These gifts will provide important start-up funding for Dr. Egeblad, whose new research laboratory will be located in the William L. and Marjorie A. Matheson Laboratory -- one of six brand-new research buildings at CSHL that are expected to open in late spring, 2009.
CSHL President Bruce Stillman heartily thanked the visiting women. “Your generous contributions will enable superb scientists at CSHL to progress in their breast cancer research efforts,” he said. “We take particular pride that this boost to our program comes from the deep commitment, hard work, and remarkable generosity of our neighbors on Long Island.”
The Long Island 2-Day Walk contributed $31,500 of the donated funds, proceeds of their flagship event held on June 7 and 8, 2008. In addition to supporting research at CSHL, the 2-Day Walk provides funding to breast cancer support groups and scholarships for students on Long Island. Dr. Egeblad will again be the beneficiary of next year’s 2-Day Walk, which will be held June 6 and 7, 2009. (For more information, please visit www.li2daywalk.org)
Following the check-presentation ceremony, Dr. Egeblad described her research on the milieu in which tumors develop and grow -- what scientists call the tumor microenvironment. She demonstrated a method that enables her to study interactions between cancer cells and neighboring cells in real-time: a “model” of human breast cancer in an experimental mouse, with intracellular events involved in cancer progression and metastasis brightly illuminated using special fluorescent “tags.” The experimental system specifically mimics human Her-2-positive breast cancer. Dr. Egeblad’s cutting-edge imaging technology is called micro-lensed spinning-disk confocal microscopy.
Dr. Egeblad is interested in studying the process by which myeloid cells, a specific type of white blood cell that normally acts to fight infections, are attracted to tumors and promote cancer metastasis. Dr. Egeblad showed that in her experimental system, she can observe how chemotherapy drugs penetrate less advanced tumors, but do not penetrate more advanced, “resistant” tumors.Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) is a private, not-for-profit research and education institution at the forefront of efforts in molecular biology and genetics to generate knowledge that will yield better diagnostics and treatments for cancer, neurological diseases and other major causes of human suffering.