With the help of two major grants, Dr. Marina Holz, the Doris and Ira Kukin Professor of Biology at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women, will explore new treatment options for patients with rare and little-understood forms of cancer.

In the fall, Dr. Holz will partner with colleagues at the University of Cincinnati in a new clinical trial that examines the potential role of a drug combination therapy to eliminate lymphangioleiomyomatosis cells. The trial is funded by a three-year, $712,442 grant from the National Institute of Health’s Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. LAM is a rare but serious lung disease that occurs primarily in women of childbearing age, starting as a low-grade tumor; the abnormal tumor cells grow out of control and spread to areas including the lungs, kidneys, lymph nodes, blood vessels, and lymphatics.

In addition, Dr. Holz received a three-year, $501,000 NIH grant to examine the role played by estrogen-related receptor alpha in triple-negative breast cancer, an aggressive metastatic form of the disease more likely to affect younger people, African Americans, Hispanics, and those with a BRCA1 gene mutation. Patients with TNBC lack the receptors that have been most successfully targeted by current breast cancer treatments, leaving standard chemotherapy as their only treatment option.