Kathleen F. Arcaro
My research areas are using breast milk to discover molecular biomarkers that: accurately predict breast cancer risk, and can be used to detect early signs of breast cancer years before the disease is clinically apparent.
Accurate risk assessment and early detection of breast cancer can greatly reduce disease occurrence and related mortality through tailored preventive strategies and early treatment. Accordingly, a related project is assessing the effects of a diet intervention on reducing molecular biomarkers in breast tissue that are associated with increased breast cancer risk. A second major project focuses on elucidating mechanisms underlying the drug resistance (Tamoxifien and other anti-hormone treatments) in breast cancer.
We have focused on epigenetic biomarkers of risk, in particular DNA methylation, because aberrant DNA methylation occurs early in the etiology of breast cancer and is potentially reversible with diet and/or drugs. Breast milk provides a noninvasive method of obtaining breast tissue, as an ounce of milk can contain millions of cells including exfoliated epithelial cells from the lining of the glands that can be used for personal risk assessment and early detection. Breast milk also provides an ideal tissue for use in proteomic analyses associated with risk assessment and for monitoring exposure to pollutants, both of which we do through numerous collaborations. In addition to studying human milk, we use several drug-resistant cell culture models and human tissue (blood, reduction mammoplasty and tumor) to investigate the etiology of breast cancer.
Learn more at www.vasci.umass.edu/research-faculty/kathleen-f-arcaro
- PhD Rutgers University