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All about immunotherapy with Dr. Jedd Wolchock

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 from successful cases – melanoma, lung or other cancers – and apply to breast cancer? And where, exactly, are researchers in finding an immunology...


Innovations in tracking cancer through the body with Dr. Peter Kuhn

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 scientist. Kuhn’s a physicist by training and part entrepreneur. That mix of disciplines comes across in how he thinks and how he approaches his...


Genetic variants that may cause breast cancer, with Dr. Fergus Couch

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 Tee since 2007. Dr. Couch has more than 300 publications, but the one we focused on came just a few months ago and it was an incredibly big...


How the environment impacts breast cancer, with Dr. Mary Beth Terry

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 it? As you’ll hear, the work is a blend of intensely modern science and old-fashioned, hard-nosed research. Dr. Mary Beth Terry is a cancer...


How and why cancer recurs with Dr. Nancy Davidson

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 care. Dr. Davidson’s current research dives into one of the most challenging areas of breast cancer or any cancer, really, recurrence. For...


The Importance of Patients as Partners, with Dr. Nikhil Wagle

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 comprised of African American patients. That’s just one of the many obstacles in investing breast cancer that Dr. Nikhil Wagle is trying to...


Dr. Karen Anderson: “The strength of the immune is about the diversity of a response”

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 development, with a long-range goal to deliver vaccines to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence after surgery. Her research focuses on how the...


Dr. Anna Maria Storniolo: What does the beginning of breast cancer look like?

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 it before it even begins? These questions are hardly philosophical. They go to the heart of important research that has been and is being led...


Dr. Debra Barton: Getting back to normal

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 in over 50% of women diagnosed with breast or gynecologic cancer. In most cases, these issues are not a part of standard cancer care which is...


Dr. Michael Clarke: Why Research?

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 and understanding how they work is central to much of today’s research. At the forefront of that research, Dr. Michael Clarke. Dr. Clarke is a...


Dr. Larry Norton: ‘That’s the Way We’re Going to Rid the World of Cancer’

Few have a more significant history or deeper relationship with Breast Cancer research and researchers than Dr. Larry Norton, Scientific Director and a founder of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.


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