Dr. Paula Bos is investigating how a type of immune cell called a regulatory T (Treg) helps breast cancer cells thrive after they have spread to the brain.
Metastatic breast cancer is a diagnosis all people with breast cancer fear – especially metastatic disease that has spread to the brain. Treatments that work for the primary breast tumor are often ineffective at treating breast cancer that has spread to the brain. Current treatment strategies for brain metastasis, which include surgery and radiation, only offer some improvements for most people. Therefore, Dr. Bos wants to improve the options available to people with breast cancer who have developed brain metastases.
Treg cells can be found in primary and metastatic breast tumors, correlating with poor patient prognosis. These cells control immune responses, and also have the ability to suppress the immune system response against cancer. In preclinical studies, Dr. Bos has shown that removing Tregs from brain metastasis models of breast cancer reduces the size of the brain tumor. Removing Treg cells in humans is not possible so far, and it could cause serious side effects. So, using Komen funding, Dr. Bos is studying how Treg cells support brain metastases, and is trying to develop a treatment strategy that could be used in people, without creating harsh side effects.
Dr. Bos is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and Member of the Massey Cancer Center at Virginia Commonwealth University. She and members of her lab are dedicated to developing new treatment options for people with breast cancer who have developed metastatic brain tumors.
- Dr. Bos grew up in a small town in Argentina, and as such is a feverish soccer enthusiast.
- She very much enjoys the outdoors with her husband and 4-year-old daughter.
- She also enjoys reading and baking with her daughter.