Robert J. Schneider, PhD
Associate Director, NYU Cancer Institute
2012-2013 BCRF Project(s):
(made possible withgenerous support from Coach)
Co-Director, Breast Cancer and Translational Cancer Research
Albert B. Sabin Professor of Molecular Pathogenesis
NYU School of Medicine
New York, New York
Co-Investigator: Silvia Formenti, MD
, NYU School of Medicine, New York
The research team led by Drs. Formenti and Schneider will undertake two studies in 2012-2013. For the first project, a growing body of evidence indicates that the primary breast cancer alters the surrounding tissue in a way that increases its ability to recur and metastasize. Drs. Formenti and Schneider introduced the concept that radiotherapy to the post-surgical tissue may reduce the inflammatory response associated with cancer surgery, as reflected by improved control of the tumor and survival among irradiated patients. Their ongoing study in breast cancer patients and in the laboratory setting has shown that malignant breast cancers, but not benign lesions, do in fact condition the surrounding breast tissue to develop factors that promote the survival of breast cancer cells and their growth, even following complete surgical removal of the tumor. These findings suggest the importance of treating the post-tumor surrounding tissues with radiation. Also, they may provide some initial explanation of the effects of radiation on the prevention of future breast cancer recurrence. Drs. Formenti and Schneider will further investigate these key findings.
In their second project, Drs. Formenti and Schneider aim to enhance the understanding of the role of selective protein synthesis in the regulation, survival, and resistance to treatment of breast cancer cells that are thought to be responsible for breast cancer metastasis and recurrence. The studies conducted in the past year are developing a novel approach that targets an area of gene regulation not previously exploited to more effectively treat advanced and metastatic breast cancer. They will continue these inquiries with the aim of developing new tools that can be used in the clinical setting.
Mid-year Progress: In their first project, Drs. Formenti and Schneider examine the concept that breast tumors alter the surrounding tissues in the breast in a way that increases their ability to recur and metastasize. Radiotherapy following tumor surgery is thought to improve breast cancer patient survival in part by reducing the ability of the surrounding tissue to maintain residual cancer cells and to become cancerous in the future. Their current research is showing that malignant breast cancers, but not benign lesions, condition the surrounding breast tissue to develop factors that promote the survival of breast cancer cells and promote their growth, even following complete surgical removal of the tumor. They continue to investigate these key observations.
In their second project, Drs. Formenti and Schneider continue to develop novel approaches and drugs that target the ability of breast cancer cells to produce proteins required for their survival and ability to spread. Their laboratory studies demonstrate that this area of research, which has not been previously exploited, provides great potential to more effectively treat advanced and metastatic breast cancer.
Dr. Schneider is a co-director of translational cancer research, a co-director of the breast cancer research program and Professor of Microbiology at the New York University School of Medicine. His lab focuses on mechanisms of cellular transformation mediated by genetic alteration of oncogene and cytokine mRNA stability and translation, the mechanisms by which regulation of cellular protein synthesis is altered to promote malignant development in breast cancer and by oncogenic viruses, and the molecular mechanism for development of liver cancer by hepatitis B virus. Initiating with his postdoctoral research studies at Princeton University, and continued at NYU, Dr. Schneider has elucidated fundamental cellular processes of genetic deregulation which are associated with development of carcinomas by human tumor viruses and in nonviral carcinomas.
Dr. Schneider received his PhD from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and completed postdoctoral training at Princeton University in tumor virus-host cell interactions. He is the recipient of several awards for his accomplishments, including an Irma T. Hirschl Career Scientist Award. For his research on hepatitis B virus and liver cancer, he received an Eminent Researcher Award from the Indian Research Council, and Medical and Scientific Consultant from the People's Republic of China.