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Doctor and patient using digital tablet in office

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At this point we all have been affected by someone battling breast cancer. I am praying that a cure is near. According to Fox 28, breast cancer is far too common. In fact, one in eight women will be diagnosed with the disease in her lifetime. Many will be treated with chemotherapy and radiation, giving them a strong chance of survival, but about 30%, more than 75,000 each year, will face a metastasized cancer that isn’t curable.

Amanda Peterson faces this deadly diagnosis. At the age of 37, she found a lump in her breast that turned out to be cancer. She had a bilateral mastectomy and six rounds of chemo. Eighteen months after her initial diagnosis, something didn’t feel right, and Amanda went to see her doctor. The cancer had spread to her bones and liverstage 4-terminal.

“I had just started allowing myself to plan for the future. When I received that second diagnosis, that metastatic diagnosis, I stopped planning,” says Amanda. “You feel hopeless. You absolutely feel hopeless.”

Alana Welm, PhD, a Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) investigator, says once breast cancer spreads to different organs, it’s very difficult to treat. Dr. Welm says, “Cancer is a very sneaky, very smart disease. Cancer cells are constantly evolving, which is why we have a big problem of therapy resistance.”

At HCI, researchers look for ways to prevent diagnoses like Amanda’s, and they are making progress. Dr. Welm’s research team recently discovered a protein that helps cancer spread. They are testing a new drug that turns off that protein and helps boost the immune system to fight the cancer.

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