San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium leads way to new cancer treatments

Dr. Virginia Kaklamani
Virginia Kaklamani, MD, represents the Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio as co-director of the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, one of the largest breast cancer meetings in the world.

Media contact: Rosanne Fohn, (210) 567-3026,

SAN ANTONIO (Dec. 3, 2019) ― More than 7,000 physicians and researchers from around the world will converge on the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, 900 E. Market St., Dec. 10-14, to attend the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium® (SABCS®).

Founded, owned and operated by UT Health San Antonio, SABCS began in 1977 as a one-day regional conference. Over the past 42 years, the meeting has grown to a five-day international conference with more than 7,500 total attendees from over 85 countries. About half of those who attend are from countries outside the U.S.

“SABCS is one of the largest breast cancer conferences in the world,” said Virginia Kaklamani, M.D., professor of medicine and leader of the UT Health San Antonio breast cancer program. She serves as one of three co-leaders of the SABCS.

“What is discussed at the SABCS truly guides what is studied in the field of breast cancer all over the world. The physicians and scientists take what they learn here back to their practices or labs the following Monday morning to improve care for patients,” she added.

Ruben Mesa, M.D., FACP, director of UT Health San Antonio’s cancer center, added, “The science presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium and the discussions they generate help advance the standard of care for cancer patients around the world.”

UT Health San Antonio researchers are presenting 17 posters. One poster examines a group of studies showing that imipramine, an FDA-approved drug used to treat chronic depression, may be effective in preventing the growth and progression of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). In preliminary studies conducted by a team of UT Health San Antonio researchers, the drug reduced cell viability, the spread of breast cancer to other parts of the body, the invasion of breast cancer cells in general and specifically TNBC cells. In the studies, imipramine stopped human TNBC tumors grown in mice and interfered with cell signaling pathways that promote the formation of TNBC tumors and their spread to other areas of the body.

The researchers on this poster include Subapriya Rajamanickam, Ph.D.; Santosh Timilsina, Ph.D.; Ismail Jatoi, M.D.; Dr. Kaklamani, Ratna Vadlamudi, Ph.D.; and Manjeet Rao, Ph.D., all from UT Health San Antonio.

Another poster shows the results of a Phase 1, multi-institutional study of elacestrant (RAD1901). Most patients with advanced estrogen receptor-positive (ER-positive) breast cancer eventually become resistant to hormone-based treatment. Researchers had previously shown that elacestrant successfully treated human tumors that were grown in mice, including tumors that previously had not responded to other medications. The Phase 1 trial being discussed at this year’s SABCS is the first study of elacestrant in humans and was designed to determine what a safe dose of the medication might be and to learn about the severity of possible side effects.

Researchers on this study include Dr. Kaklamani, UT Health San Antonio; Aditya Bardia, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Harvard Medical School; Sharon Wilks, Texas Oncology – San Antonio; Amy Weise, Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center, Detroit, Mich.; Donald Richards, Texas Oncology – Tyler, Texas; Wael Harb, Horizon Oncology Center, Lafayette, Ind.; Cynthia Osborne, Texas Oncology – Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center, Dallas; Robert Wesolowski, Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbus, Ohio; Meghan Karuturi, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston; Paul Conkling, Virginia Oncology Associates, Norfolk, Va.; Rebecca Bagley, JungAh Jung, Teeru Bihani and Maureen Conlan, all from Radius Health Inc., Waltham, Mass.; and Peter Kabos, University of Colorado, Aurora.

In addition to UT Health San Antonio, the two other SABCS institutional co-sponsors are Baylor College of Medicine and the American Association of Cancer Research.

For more information about the conference, visit

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