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Alana Welm, PhD, Receives Award for Breast Cancer Research

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Alana Welm, PhD
Alana Welm, PhD

Alana Welm, PhD, senior director of basic science at Huntsman Cancer Institute and professor of oncological sciences at the University of Utah (the U), received the 2023 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Outstanding Investigator Award for Breast Cancer Research.

“Dr. Welm is an exceptionally talented and internationally-recognized scientist, applying her discoveries to the development of improved breast cancer therapies,” says Neli Ulrich, PhD, MS, chief scientific officer and executive director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Huntsman Cancer Institute and professor of population health sciences at the U. “She has a highly productive research program widely known for its creativity and impact. Dr. Welm is a valued contributor to the community through her leadership, generosity, and collaboration; she is firmly established as a thought leader in breast cancer research.”

Welm’s research focuses on metastatic breast cancer. She is being recognized by the AACR for her translational research discoveries that could lead to better treatments for breast cancer. Welm has created breast cancer models for individual patients that can be placed in a living organism, replicating how the disease metastasizes and responds to therapies. This shows researchers how breast cancer responds to medications in real time and allows physicians to create better treatment plans.

“I am deeply honored to receive this award on behalf of my dedicated lab members, who work so diligently to advance breast cancer research,” says Welm. “I am grateful to my many co-investigators at Huntsman Cancer Institute who exemplify a true collaborative spirit – especially Bryan Welm and the Varley, Marth, and Gertz groups, along with Christos Vaklavas, Cindy Matsen, Saundra Buys, and the rest of the clinical breast team and patient advocates. Our challenging translational research studies simply would not be possible without integration across disciplines, and it’s one of the things that makes Huntsman Cancer Institute such a rewarding place to be.”

Welm will give an award lecture on Friday, December 8 at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

This research is supported by the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute including P30 CA042014 and Huntsman Cancer Foundation.

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Huntsman Cancer Institute
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About Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah

Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah (the U) is the National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center for Utah, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Wyoming. With a legacy of innovative cancer research, groundbreaking discoveries, and world-class patient care, we are transforming the way cancer is understood, prevented, diagnosed, treated, and survived. Huntsman Cancer Institute focuses on delivering a cancer-free frontier to all communities in the area we serve. We have more than 300 open clinical trials and 250 research teams studying cancer at any given time. More genes for inherited cancers have been discovered at Huntsman Cancer Institute than at any other cancer center. Our scientists are world-renowned for understanding how cancer begins and using that knowledge to develop innovative approaches to treat each patient’s unique disease. Huntsman Cancer Institute was founded by Jon M. and Karen Huntsman.

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