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Headshot of Philip Spanheimer
UNC Lineberger’s Philip Spanheimer, MD.

UNC Lineberger’s Philip Spanheimer, MD, assistant professor in the Division of Surgical Oncology, was presented with a Young Investigator Award at the Society of Surgical Oncology annual meeting in March for his research in how some estrogen receptor positive breast cancers become resistant to common medications.

The Young Investigator Award promotes and recognizes clinical and translational research that advances innovative ideas and concepts designed to improve health outcomes through advances in the delivery of cancer-related care.

“I am honored to win this award from the Society of Surgical Oncology. With this support we have the chance to make important discoveries that will lead to better treatments for our patients,” Spanheimer said.

The Young Investigator Award provides $25,000 in research support for one year.

“We have identified a role for a cell surface receptor, RET, in altering ER activity, which we think is key to ER positive breast tumors becoming resistant to endocrine therapy,” Spanheimer added.

Spanheimer and team will investigate how ER genomic localization and target gene regulation are altered by RET. Their goal is to use a multiplatform approach to identify biomarkers of resistance to endocrine therapy and pathways driving the resistant phenotype for novel treatment strategies to overcome resistance.