January 5, 2006
Vol. 25, No. 7

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    University Huggins Lectures will explain genetics of breast cancer

    By Katie Brandt
    Medical Center Public Affairs

    People in the United States spend an estimated $3.8 billion on breast cancer treatment each year—and to some avail. The death rate caused by the disease, which infects one in eight women, has declined in recent years, thanks to a combination of earlier detection and better treatment. This winter, the University will add to the public’s growing knowledge of breast cancer by explaining the genetics behind it during the annual Charles B. Huggins Lectures.

    James Fackenthal, Assistant Professor of Hematology and Oncology in Medicine, will present “Breast Cancer: the Genetics of a Disease.” The lectures will be held from 11 a.m. to noon every Saturday beginning Jan. 14 at 5841 S. Maryland Ave., Room P-117.

    Over the series’ eight weeks, Fackenthal will discuss, among other topics, experiments that demonstrate how genetics controls breast cancer cell growth. He also will talk about the technical advances that reveal genetic differences in patients and how physicians and researchers can tailor more specific treatment options to those patients.

    The series is named after Charles Huggins, who won the 1966 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for research on testosterone’s involvement in prostate cancer. Huggins served as the first director of the Ben May Institute for Cancer Research at Chicago.

    The Saturday lecture topics are scheduled as follows:

    Jan. 14: Overview and Introduction to Cancer

    Jan. 21: Early Experiments in Genetics: The Science of Heredity

    Jan. 28: Later Experiments in Genetics: The Science of Molecular Biology

    Feb. 4: The DNA Double Helix: Structural Basis of Heredity and Molecular Biology

    Feb. 11: Gene Mutations and Cancer, Part 1: Oncogenes and Tumor Suppressor Genes Regulate Tumor Development

    Feb. 18: Gene Mutations and Cancer, Part 2: Hormone Action in Normal Cells and Breast Tumors

    Feb. 25: Genetic Studies Point the Way to Better Treatments

    March 4: From Genetics to Genomics

    All of the lectures are free and open to the public. For more information, call (773) 702-3940.