Collaboration Between Carr and Frietze Leads to Prestigious Department of Defense Impact Award

June 11, 2024 by Katelyn Queen, PhD

Frances Carr, PhD and Seth Frietze, PhD

Thyroid cancer is the most common endocrine cancer worldwide, with incidence rates increasing faster than any other solid tumor over the past few decades. Due to a lack of effective and enduring therapies, patients who are diagnosed with advanced metastatic disease have a high mortality rate and survival time of only 6-9 months from the time of diagnosis. 

Now, through a new grant from the Department of Defense, Frances Carr, Ph.D. and Seth Frietze, Ph.D., will complete foundational and translational research, developing novel therapeutic strategies for thyroid cancer. The grant, an Impact Award from the Department of Defense, will allow Carr and Frietze to continue work on a collaborative project with Aimee Franco, Ph.D., at University of Pennsylvania, to understand how the transcription factor (a regulator of protein expression), Thyroid Hormone Receptor Beta (TRb), acts as a tumor suppressor. Previous work from the group, supported by a UVM Cancer Center Pilot Award, demonstrated reductions in the aggressive characteristics of advanced thyroid cancer as well as breast and other endocrine cancers are possible with the selective activation of TRb. The team aims to dive further into this study to uncover differences in gene expression and regulatory patterns that arise as a result of activation of TRb. The patterns identified will serve as the foundation for subsequent clinical trials, increasing therapeutic options for patients.