Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Researcher Awarded $100K to Study Activator of Cell Function Regulator in Breast Cancer

August 12, 2013

Janice Thomas, PhDNew Brunswick, N.J. – The New Jersey Commission on Cancer Research (NJCCR) has awarded Janice Thomas, PhD, a post-doctoral fellow in the X.F. Steven Zheng laboratory at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey a two-year $100,000 grant (#DFHS13PPCO32) to further examine the impact of a protein ‘trigger’ involved in the regulation of cell function in breast cancer.   

The overall aim of the research is to investigate a unique activator of the mTOR protein, which is a central controller of cell growth and metabolism. Overproduction of this activator – a novel small GTPase enzyme -- causes mTOR function to be heightened, especially in colorectal and breast cancers, causing tumor cells to gain growth advantage.  While there are anti-cancer drugs designed to block the mTOR function in advanced kidney and breast cancers, implications are not yet known if this small GTPase enzyme could be used as a surrogate biomarker for mTOR-targeted treatments. The grant will support Dr. Thomas and colleagues in further exploring that possibility as it relates to breast cancer.  

The award period runs through June 30, 2015.

About Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey ( is the state’s first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. As part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, the Cancer Institute of New Jersey is dedicated to improving the detection, treatment and care of patients with cancer, and to serving as an education resource for cancer prevention. Physician-scientists at the Cancer Institute engage in translational research, transforming their laboratory discoveries into clinical practice, quite literally bringing research to life.  To make a tax-deductible gift to support the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, call 732-235-8614 or visit Follow us on Facebook at

The Cancer Institute of New Jersey Network is comprised of hospitals throughout the state and provides the highest quality cancer care and rapid dissemination of important discoveries into the community. Flagship Hospital: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. System Partner: Meridian Health (Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Ocean Medical Center, Riverview Medical Center, Southern Ocean Medical Center, and Bayshore Community Hospital). Major Clinical Research Affiliate Hospitals: Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Medical Center, Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Overlook Medical Center, and Cooper University Hospital. Affiliate Hospitals: CentraState Healthcare System, JFK Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton (CINJ Hamilton), Shore Medical Center, Somerset Medical Center, The University Hospital/Rutgers New Jersey Medical School*, and University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro. *Academic Affiliate


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