In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re highlighting the work that our scientists are doing toward the next generation of breast cancer therapies.

Newswise — FACT: About 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. Brooke Emerling, Ph.D., is an assistant professor and one of SBP's newest faculty members working on a challenging problem in breast cancer research. She is researching an aggressive and recurrent form of breast cancer called triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) that has a mortality rate three times higher than other types of breast cancer and accounts for 15-25 percent of all breast cancer cases.

"Many breast cancers can be treated with targeted therapies—drugs that block the receptors on cancer cells that help fuel their growth," Emerling says. "TNBC lacks these receptors, so patients are treated with surgery, standard chemotherapy and radiation, but this doesn't always work."

Currently, there are no specialized treatments for TNBC. Emerling is hoping her research will lead to new treatments that selectively kill the tumor cell(s), leaving healthy cells alone. She has identified a promising new target for TNBC called PI5P4Ks. According to her studies, PI5P4Ks normally help protect cancer cells from stressful conditions. She is currently searching for drugs that inhibit these cancer-friendly enzymes with a goal to help more breast cancer patients survive cancer-free.

To speak to Dr. Brooke Emerling of SBP, please contact Kristen Cusato, Communications Manager, SBP at [email protected].

About SBP

Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) is an independent nonprofit medical research organization that conducts world-class, collaborative, biological research and translates its discoveries for the benefit of patients. SBP focuses its research on cancer, immunity, neurodegeneration, metabolic disorders and rare children’s diseases. The Institute invests in talent, technology and partnerships to accelerate the translation of laboratory discoveries that will have the greatest impact on patients. Recognized for its world-class NCI-designated Cancer Center and the Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics, SBP employs about 1,100 scientists and staff in San Diego (La Jolla), Calif., and Orlando (Lake Nona), Fla. For more information, visit us at or on Facebook at and on Twitter @SBPdiscovery.