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Erina Vlashi, Ph.D.
Research performed at: UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center
Specialty/Research Area: Breast Cancer
Award Year: 2018
Career summary: Dr. Vlashi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology, Division of Cellular and Molecular Oncology at UCLA since 2012. Dr. Vlashi received her PhD in 2007 from the Department of Chemistry at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, and post-doctoral training in Radiobiology at UCLA (2007-2010). Dr. Vlashi has received numerous awards including the Marie Curie Award from Radiation Research Society (2008), Scholar-in-Training Awards from American Association of Cancer Research (2008 and 2010) and Radiation Research Society (2008 and 2010), Early Career Investigator Awards from Radiation Research Society (2016-2017) and Junior Faculty Award from American Society for Radiation Oncology (2017-2019).
 
Year STOP CANCER Award was received: 2018 Marni Levine Memorial Research Career Development Award

Description of research performed: Dr. Vlashi studies the effect that radiation therapy has on the metabolism of cancer cells, specifically on cancer cells that have “cancer-initiating” capability (cancer stem cells). Cancer stem cells are thought to not only maintain the growth of breast tumors but also play a major role in their resistance to current anti-cancer treatments. By understanding the changes that radiation therapy induces in the metabolic pathways that fuel the growth of these cells, Dr. Vlashi hopes to uncover vulnerabilities that can be exploited and combined with radiation therapy that would ultimately lead to significant improvement in tumor control, and perhaps cure. 

Results of Research: Dr. Vlashi’s research aims to contribute to the development of therapies that can significantly enhance the effect of radiation therapy as a modality for treatment of cancer, while minimizing its side-effects.

STOP CANCER is committed to funding the most promising and innovative scientists in their early research of all forms of cancer prevention, treatment, cures and subsequent clinical applications. STOP CANCER works primarily with local National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers and other qualified institutions in the United States to carry out its mission.

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