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William Walker, PhD

Senior Research Scientist, Department of Neuroscience

A collaborative research initiative involving West Virginia University, the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, and the WVU Cancer Institute to better treat breast cancer patients with brain metastases is receiving support through a National Cancer Institute grant.

William Walker, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Neuroscience at the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, is leading the research that involves utilizing daily rhythms in blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability to better treat/optimize treatment for breast cancer brain metastases (BCBM). BCBM occurs when breast cancer spreads to the brain. Historically, the occurrence of BCBM in patients ranged from 10-15 percent; more recently, the frequency has increased to 25-34 percent.

“This grant will allow us to further continue our collaborative research in treating cancer,” Dr. Walker said. “With a recent increase in BCBM, this research is vital to the care and treatment options of breast cancer patients.”

Walker’s research seeks to demonstrate that by optimizing the time of day chemotherapy is given to a patient, the amount of chemotherapy within a brain metastasis will increase, which will lead to increased cell death within BCBM and prolonged median survival.

“We are so pleased that Dr. Walker received this K99 to study circadian rhythms in BBB permeability and increased efficacy of chemotherapy for brain metastases,” Randy Nelson, PhD, chair of the WVU Department of Neuroscience, said. “This important work with Dr. Paul Lockman will link neuroscience and cancer research to provide novel and important insights into improving treatments for metastatic breast cancer.”

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number K99CA273424. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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