Ruth Keri, PhD

Lerner Research Institute


Impact Award

NanoString Machine

Most research in cancer biology focuses on the tumor cells or cells from the body that might interact with the tumor cells, such as immune cells. While this has been highly informative, it does not give the complete picture of what drives tumor growth and spread throughout the body because it loses the ability to discern how tumor cells interact with normal cells that surround the tumor. New technology (NanoString GeoMX) now provides an unprecedented ability to assess the communication between tumors and normal cells and how this controls the ability of the tumor to grow, spread, and respond to drugs. We plan to use this technology to discover in substantial detail how breast cancers and their surrounding normal tissue interact. We expect that this will provide new insights into how normal tissues are changed by the breast cancer and in turn, how the cancer is impacted by the normal tissue that surrounds it. We also anticipate that using this technology will reveal new targets for therapy that were previously undetectable due to the lack of taking a holistic approach to understanding the breast cancer within its environment that includes immune cells, blood vessels, fat, nerves, and other supporting tissue. This application requests support for acquiring a NanoString GeoMX machine for a team of breast cancer investigators to discern how breast cancers interact with surrounding normal cells to promote growth, metastasis, and drug resistance with the expectation that this will lead to new therapies to treat this disease.


This project aims to find better treatments for breast cancer by discovering how cancers interact with their surrounding normal tissue.