Chances are pretty good that you, or someone close to you, has been affected by cancer. This insidious disease has taken its toll on many across the country. Excluding skin cancer, breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer type in women (30% of the diagnosed cancers) and prostate cancer (20% of the diagnosed cancer in men) is the most diagnosed cancer type in men in the United States. 1
The bad news gets worse when it comes to mortality rates. Behind lung cancer, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death for women (15% of the diagnosed cancers) and prostate cancer (10% of the diagnosed cancers) is the second leading cause of cancer-related death for men in the United States. 1
With a 5-year survival rate for metastatic or prostate cancer—30% down from a 99% survival rate for early stage cancer 2—it is imperative that we understand how breast and prostate cancer progress and develop therapies to prevent or treat advanced disease.
When Dr. Nikki Delk lost her grandmother at age 9, she knew she wanted to be a cancer researcher. She attained a doctorate in molecular biology from Rice University and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at MD Anderson Cancer Center before her current position here at The University of Texas at Dallas as an Associate Professor of Biological Sciences.
The Delk Lab is studying the role of inflammation in breast and prostate cancer treatment resistance and has discovered that chronic exposure to inflammation alters the cancer cell genes that lead this treatment resistance. They are collaborating with researchers at UT Southwestern, MD Anderson Cancer Center, UTHSC San Antonio, and UNT Health Science Center.
Their ultimate goal is to develop genetic signatures that can predict which breast or prostate cancer patients would be resistant to conventional therapy and identify alternative therapies for those patients.