Katelyn Miller, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow in the Wistar lab of Dr. Zach Schug, is the recipient of the prized Rena and Victor Damone Postdoctoral Fellowship in Cancer Research from the American Cancer Society (ACS). Awarded through the Extramural Discovery Sciences program, which is the research arm of the ACS, this two-year fellowship funds high-impact cancer research by the most promising, early-career scientists doing innovative work in the field.
Dr. Miller will study the dietary distinctions of cancer cells and how they utilize the nutrients in food very differently from normal healthy tissues.
"We find that many breast tumors have an appetite for a nutrient called acetate and use it to help them to grow, become more aggressive and resist treatment," said Miller. "Indeed, when we block the ability of breast cancer cells to use acetate, we stop their growth and make them more susceptible to attack by our own immune system. We believe that targeting acetate in combination with immunotherapy will greatly improve responses to treatment for breast cancer patients, but also in any cancer that relies on acetate. We hope to then develop therapies that specifically kill the cancer cells."
The Philadelphia region has a dynamic research scene that has greatly benefitted from the critical support of the ACS, the largest private funder of cancer research outside of the federal government. For more than seven decades the ACS has buoyed the careers of the most promising and productive scientists.
"I am truly grateful to have been awarded the American Cancer Society Rena and Victor Damone Postdoctoral Fellowship," said Miller. "It will allow me to further my research aimed at understanding how changes to a cancer cell's diet impact patient responses to therapy. The funds and mentoring support provided will ultimately allow for a better understanding of the metabolic changes in breast cancer cells leading to targeted therapies and improved patient outcomes."
Katelyn Miller, Ph.D., is supported by an American Cancer Society – Rena and Victor Damone Postdoctoral Fellowship in Cancer Research, PF-20-125-01-CCG.