A gift to the Department of Surgery helps our physicians and scientists find new treatments and cures for serious diseases.
Dr. Nancy Boudreau is an Associate Professor of Surgery and the Elsbach-Richards Professor of the UCSF Division of Surgery Research Laboratory at the San Francisco General Hospital. Dr. Boudreau is a graduate of the Dalhousie University in Halifax NS, Canada and received her Ph. D. from the University of Toronto. Her laboratory is investigating the role of the Homeobox (Hox) genes in the regulation of extracellular matrix remodeling during pathological angiogenesis associated with tumor growth or wound healing. At present, her laboratory is the only group to date which has conclusively demonstrated a role for this group of master transcriptional regulators during the process of neovascularization. Dr. Boudreau's duties are limited to surgical research.
Valerie Weaver and collaborators have identified the first positive regulator of BRCA1, establishing that the loss of the homeobox gene HoxA9 promotes tumor growth in breasts. The scientists found that restoring HoxA9 in breast cancer cells inhibited their malignant behavior in culture and in vivo. Intriguingly, the researchers learned that while HoxA9 has been shown to promote leukemia, it actually functions as a tumor suppressor in the breast. This eight-year project was led by Valerie M. Weaver, PhD, a faculty member in the Department of Surgery, "The finding demonstrates what we've seen before - that a gene that drives tumors in one disease can reduce tumors in another disease," she says.