Preventing Cancer

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Preventing Cancer

Lissette Delgado-Cruzata and student Lisset Duran want to better understand breast cancer risk

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Illustration: Angus Greig

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Breast cancer affects one out of every eight women annually. Today we understand that developing cancer is not only affected by gene mutations but also by mechanisms that regulate how genes are expressed, or turned into functional “products,” like proteins, in our cells. John Jay’s Dr. Lissette Delgado-Cruzata is working on developing a better understanding of what makes individuals likely to develop breast cancer. Her goal is to provide more and better information for future prevention programs that target individuals at higher risk for the disease. To do that, she and student mentees like Lisset Duran are investigating the factors that lead to changes in how our DNA behaves by carrying out experiments with breast cancer cell cultures.

Duran, a 2018 graduate and participant in the Program for Research Initiatives in Science and Math (PRISM), used Delgado-Cruzata’s lab training to study how certain DNA proteins affect the expression of breast cancer-associated gene BRCA1. Her research, which she hopes is a step on the road to better targeted cancer therapies, earned her the prestigious CUNY Jonas Salk Award for graduating students who are poised to make significant contributions to medical research. Duran is now a Ph.D. candidate in biology at Princeton University, meaning John Jay may someday have two Dr. Lisset(te)s!

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