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While genetic testing and counseling for breast cancer has been available in the U.S. for many years, accessing these services in Mexico and the rest of Latin America is more challenging due to limited resources. Leading genetics researcher and oncologist, Dr. Jeffrey Weitzel, has devoted his career to decreasing these barriers. Dr. Weitzel, a BCRF…
 
Research shows that when chemotherapy is delayed, a patient’s chance of survival falls significantly. Dr. Mariana Chavez MacGregor, a BCRF investigator since 2018, joined our podcast to talk about her work with underserved and underinsured patients—those who are most likely to experience delays—to develop personalized ways to improve healthcare acc…
 
One key goal in developing precision vaccines and immune therapies is to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence. Yet currently, there is only one FDA-approved immunotherapy drug for breast cancer, and it benefits just a small subset of women. In this episode of Investigating Breast Cancer, we talk with Dr. Karen Anderson about vaccines, harnes…
 
Advances in cancer therapy have dramatically contributed to the decline in breast cancer deaths over the last three decades. But even with these advances, drug resistance—when tumors stop responding to anti-cancer drugs—remains a serious clinical challenge. Dr. Sarat Chandarlapaty talks about the strategies to prevent cancer cells from evading the …
 
In the fight to understand and solve breast cancer, “it takes a village.” In this case, the village is more like a globally connected series of research labs, scientists, patients, funders and more. In other words, something that looks a lot like the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium (TBCRC). The TBCRC is a collaborative group founded…
 
Breast cancer—and any cancer—can be incredibly stressful under the best of circumstances for patients, survivors, and their families. In this time of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), concerns can feel like they’re rising exponentially. So, what do we all need to know? With tons of new information bombarding us at once, what should cancer patients …
 
For young women, a breast cancer diagnosis presents a unique set of challenges not only due to age, but the biology of the disease as well. While a diagnosis under the age of 40 is rare, the disease tends to behave more aggressively. Compared to older breast cancer patients, young women treated for the disease tend to have an increased risk of expe…
 
Every October, BCRF-funded researchers are honored at the annual Symposium & Awards Luncheon in New York City. This is when BCRF makes its formal announcement of research grants for the upcoming year and recognizes its investigators for their devotion to ending breast cancer with their trailblazing scientific inquiry. The event provides a unique op…
 
Metastasis, when cancer cells leave the breast and spread to other sites in the body, is the major cause of mortality from breast cancer. The brain is one of the most common organs breast cancer invades, occurring in more than one third of patients with advanced breast cancer, up to 300,000 patients a year. The prognosis of cancer patients who deve…
 
How should we – patients, family, doctors – consider the careful balance in identifying patients who might benefit from less rigorous course of treatment? Dr. Eric Winer, a BCRF investigator since 2003, studies this concept. Known as “de-escalation of therapy,” this form of personalized medicine challenges the “one-size-fits-all” approach to breast…
 
“What should I eat?” It’s a question that Dr. Walter Willett thinks about every day as a researcher focused on the intersection of diet, lifestyle and health. Dr. Willett, a BCRF investigator since 2001, is widely considered a global leader on nutrition research. His research aims to characterize the impact of diet and lifestyle on health outcomes,…
 
Did you ever think you’d end up working in Africa?Neither did Dr. Lawrence Shulman. But then we never had Paul Farmer as our intern. Dr. Shulman – an oncologist who specializes in breast cancer – did.Farmer, if you don’t know, is the American anthropologist and doctor who in 1987 co-founded Partners in Health, an international non-profit that, in i…
 
You likely know the expression, Pay It Forward. It’s an important concept for any kind of social awareness, but it can carry special meaning as well in the breast cancer world, particularly in research.That’s because so much of today’s important breakthroughs are built not only on yesterday’s participation of other patients, but, of course, the wor…
 
Can life change with a single letter in the mail? For my guest today, it did, and subsequently, so did the lives of millions of people with various forms of cancer, including breast cancer.The letter in question came from the National Cancer Institute in 1977. The recipient was Dr. Susan Horwitz. The result: The creation of one of the most importan…
 
At first glance, it would seem that any of us who follow the breast cancer experience would look to the investigators – the scientists, researchers and their teams – for inspiration. They are, after all, dedicating their lives to fighting cancer. In this conversation, you’ll hear the opposite. To listen to Dr. Gabriel Hortobagyi, you hear the inspi…
 
Dr. Sofia Merajver is a professor of Internal Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of Michigan, where she is also Scientific Director of the Merajver Breast Cancer Research Program and Director of the Breast and Ovarian Cancer Risk Evaluation Program. As you’ll hear, Dr. Merajver – who has been a BCRF Investigator since 2004 – discusses her …
 
It was among the biggest cancer news stories of the year: A new study – the largest breast cancer treatment trial ever conducted – showed no benefit from chemotherapy for 70 percent of women with the most common type of breast cancer. As the Washington Post described, that means: “most patients who have an intermediate risk of a cancer recurrence —…
 
How does cancer grow? Why do some cancers react positively to treatment while others seem to resist? Understanding these relationships, the genetic events and cell-to-cell interactions that lead to cancer, not only can provide better understanding of how cancer develops, but also drive potential new targets for drug development. Understanding these…
 
Dr. Hedvig Hricak: is, among many other roles, Chairman, Department of Radiology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She also recently was honored by BCRC with the 2018 Jill Rose Award for outstanding research excellence. As you will hear, Dr. Hricak is extraordinary – not just in her work helping merge imaging technology with molecular medi…
 
Breast cancer and technology. At first glance, they seem like totally separate topics. After this conversation, you’ll not only better understand the connection, but you’ll be waiting to learn what comes next.As you’ll hear, thanks to technology developed by our guest Dr. Michael Wigler – in collaboration with BCRF colleague James Hicks – researche…
 
Today, we have an outstanding and thoughtful conversation on stress, breast cancer, and the science of survivorship. We all, of course, experience stress, work, family, money, but what about health, in particular, cancers like breast cancer? Obviously dealing with illness, indeed dealing with ongoing treatments and procedures brings stress to a who…
 
It sounds like something out of Game of Thrones: Attack the weakness. Today, we apply the phrase to a more important and real battle – the one against breast cancer.As you’ll hear, Dr. Alan Ashworth is part of a team that developed something called PARP Inhibitors and, quite creatively, identified ways to use them to attack the weaknesses of variou…
 
Most women who die of breast cancer die from metastatic disease, the spread of tumor cells to different parts of the body. Metastasis often results following treatment failure, but it also can occur decades after what was thought to be successful treatment. Currently, no curative therapies exist for metastatic breast cancer.But today, the race to d…
 
Well-designed randomized clinical trials may provide information about prevention strategies and effective treatments for women at risk of, or diagnosed with, breast cancer. A major limitation of clinical trials, however, is that results apply to the trial group as a whole, but not necessarily to each individual woman. That’s because individual res…
 
Immunotherapy – treating a disease by inducing, enhancing, or suppressing an immune response – remains one of the biggest hopes in terms of potentially finding a breast cancer cure. And yet, it also remains an incredibly challenging discipline. What works for one type of cancer may not for another. Why is that? What lessons can researchers take fro…
 
What if we could track where the cancer is moving through the body, not by evasive biopsies, but rather through a common procedure we go through nearly anytime we visit a doctor. A simple blood draw. That's just one of the innovations I discussed with Dr. Peter Kuhn. It was a terrific conversation. Dr. Kuhn is not your typical researcher, part scie…
 
My guest is Dr. Fergus Couch who is, among many other roles, Professor and Chair of the Division of Experimental Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Couch works on the genetics of breast cancer, discovering and understanding the connections of inherited genetic variance in cancer susceptibility genes. He's also a BCRF Grand Te…
 
While much of the focus around breast cancer rightfully looks at preexisting genetics, an important part of finding a cure also means looking at what's happening outside the body, specifically the environment. How does the air we breathe and chemicals we ingest every day potentially put us more at risk for the disease? What can be done to prevent i…
 
My conversation today is with Dr. Nancy Davidson, simply one of the leading breast cancer researchers we have. Dr. Davidson characterizes herself as a physician scientist. She directly connects the human aspect of what she does, working with patients, with her research that has delivered key discoveries that are now common practice in breast cancer…
 
We begin today with a statistic that is immediately concerning and curious: mortality from breast cancer is higher in black women than in white women. Among the challenges in studying this problem is a lack of data. That's because only a small fraction of the cancer genome atlas, that's the catalog of genetic mutations responsible for cancer, is co…
 
Among the many powerful and intriguing things that Dr. Karen Anderson told me during our terrific conversation: Vaccines have changed the course of human events. This line – combined with the inspiration Dr. Anderson felt when completing her studies – helped lead her to the important and challenging work she does now: Breast cancer vaccine developm…
 
It sounds like a simple question. What is obesity? But like most simple questions, the answer is not as obvious as it may seem. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls obesity "A national epidemic causing higher medical costs and a lower quality of life." The CDC also notes that obesity is a contributing cause of many other health p…
 
Our series is focusing on scientist, thinkers, and leaders who drive the insights and breakthroughs of breast cancer research. Today's conversation proves a simple math problem: two is better than one. Actually today's conversation also tackles some really complicated math and science. Specifically, how applied mathematics and tumor biology are com…
 
What does the beginning of breast cancer look like? What happens – at the very start – that turns normal breast tissue into the first stages of cancer? And by recognizing these early molecular changes and pathway alterations, could we not only improve our understanding of the evolution of breast cancer… but also, one would hope, find a way to stop …
 
The list of symptoms associated with cancers of all kinds is of course extraordinarily long. Particularly, among breast cancer survivors, these can include fatigue, hot flashes, and cognitive changes related to chemotherapy, nausea and vomiting, and sexual health, just to name a few. Of those, while sexual health and functioning have been reported …
 
Among the many challenges with breast cancer and breast cancer research is metastasis when cancer cells break away from a tumor and travel to distant parts of the body. Within this collection of cells is an important minority group, breast cancer stem cells. These cells are ultimately responsible for cancer related death in women with the disease a…
 
Among the many important research areas of breast cancer and frankly all cancers is what's called survivorship; quality of life and the ability to live independently. Among older survivors, one area of concern: cognitive decline or memory loss. This is one of the areas that Dr. Arti Hurria studies. Dr. Hurria and her team focus on older, long-term …
 
it’s what’s on the inside that matters. It turns out that for cells – including cancer cells – the outside matters a whole lot, too.Specifically, the interactions between the extracellular matrix and the microenvironment -- the physical context and the connection between the outside of a cell and the inside – is central to how that cell behaves… an…
 
Dr. Perou is a member of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina and the Scientific Director of the UNC Bioinformatics Core. Perou's reserach has established that breast cancer is not a single disease but instead represents a series of diseases that vary in their prognosis and response to treatment.…
 
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