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Michael Elkin, PhD

Michael Elkin, PhD

Grant Status
Active

Institution
Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School

Grant Type
Project Grant

Project Title
Metabolic Endotoxemia: A New Molecular Target between Obesity and Breast Cancer

Tumor Types

Research Topics
Breast Cancer, Obesity


About the Investigator:

Dr. Elkin is an expert in tumor biology, diabetes and diabetic complications.  He received his BSc, MSc and PhD degrees from the Hebrew University, and carried out postdoctoral research in the US National Institute of Dental Research of the US National Institutes of Health.  He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Oncology at the Hadassah Medical Organization and a member of the Faculty of Medicine at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

About the Research:

Obese women have a higher risk of bearing breast tumors that are resistant to therapies, and once diagnosed obese women have worse clinical outcomes than their lean counterparts, as cancer is more likely to recur and associated with higher death rates.  The estimated global prevalence of obesity in women is approximately 40%, and breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in females, making it important to elucidate the mechanistic link between breast cancer and obesity.  Obesity is associated with metabolic endotoxemia — the  chronic presence of extremely low (but biologically significant) levels of bacterial endotoxin in circulation of obese individuals.  However, it is not known whether metabolic endotoxemia is an important determinant of accelerated tumor progression and/or resistance to therapy in obese breast cancer patients.

Dr. Elkin hypothesizes that the continued presence of subclinical levels of bacterial endotoxin enhances the malignant phenotype of breast cancer cells.  This may occur both directly and through adverse activation of other cells in the tumor microenvironment and adjacent adipose tissue.  His team will test this using newly-established experimental tools, in model systems and primary  clinical samples.  The anticipated results have the potential to be translated into clinical benefit for breast cancer patients with elevated body weight.

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