What I Learned at School Today (errr…a few days ago)

I work at a University.  I am in no way employed in or directly involved with the academic end of our institution, but I do have access to some perks.  A few weeks ago, a friend in one of the colleges passed along an invite that his dean sent to his department.  The invite was for a lecture featuring one of the new chairs in the College of Health Sciences and his research on “Oncogenes, Cellular Transformation and Breast Cancer.”

I decided to attend the lecture and see what I could learn.  I also thought it would be neat to become more actively engaged with research that is literally happening at my doorstep.  I walked into the lecture room minutes before the presentation started.  A man sitting to my left immediately asked if I was a cancer researcher.  My initial response was “No, but I’m a cancer survivor.”  I then changed my answer to, “Well, technically, yes I am a cancer researcher.”  I may not have been published in any of the journals that this fellow has read, but I have certainly done my own research in an effort to proactively take control of my health.  Before I could say anymore, the host was introducing our guest.

There were parts of Dr. Flynn’s presentation that were way beyond my playing field and grasp of knowledge.  However, he presented his research in a way that I could clearly understand where he was going.  I really enjoyed learning about what efforts are being made to really combat this disease and in a way to prevent it.  Here is the short edited version of what I could comprehend from his lecture:

Basically everyone has these proteins/oncogenes in their bodies called Src.  When Src is activated or ‘turned on’ cancer can form in the breast and eventually break through the cell walls to spread to other parts of the body.  It was found that another protein/gene called AFAP1 activates Src.  And so Dr. Flynn’s research is revolving around ways to mitigate or “drug” AFAP1 so that it does not activate Src.  This is where he stands now and there is still work to be done.  Thanks Dr. Flynn for sharing your insight and research to this breast cancer survivor!  I look forward to learning more about the progress of his research and how it can benefit others.

I just thought I would share…I’m not sure if others have ever heard of Src or AFAP1, I know I had not.

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