Biomedical scientist Rajkumar Lakshmanaswamy, Ph.D., has received a $1.1 million research grant from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to study how early pregnancy reduces a woman’s risk for breast cancer.
“We’ve known for centuries that women who don’t have children run a high risk for breast cancer,” says Lakshmanaswamy, a professor of biomedical sciences at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso). “So what is it about pregnancy, particularly early pregnancy, that reduces a women’s lifetime risk of breast cancer?”
Studies have shown that if a woman gives birth to her first child before the age of 20, her risk of developing breast cancer is half that of a woman who has never undergone a full-term pregnancy, or a woman who had her first child after the age of 35. The biological processes that cause this protective effect, however,…
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