Carey Anders, MD
Assistant Professor, Breast Cancer
2012-2013 BCRF Project:
(made possible by generous support from Proven Winners® ColorChoice® Shrubs)
Lineberger Cancer Center
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Triple negative breast cancer is an aggressive subset of breast cancer with a high rate of brain metastases and poor survival. Studies indicate progressive
intra- and extra-cranial disease is diagnosed concurrently 80% of the time, underscoring the need for a systemic approach. No effective systemic
chemotherapeutic is currently approved to treat patients with triple negative breast cancer with brain metastases.
The primary aim of Dr. Anders's research is to improve survival, through the development and application of new agents, for patients with metastatic triple
negative breast cancer. To accomplish these goals, Dr. Anders plans to test Poly (ADP-Ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors and nanoparticle anti-cancer
agents in the laboratory setting.
PARP inhibitors, a class of drugs which inhibit DNA repair, have emerged as an exciting class of agents to augment the effect of chemotherapy in treating
triple negative breast cancer. A challenge faced in studying PARP inhibitors to treat intracranial triple negative breast cancer is the inability of most
standard chemotherapeutic partners to cross BBB. The physical properties of many of the clinically available PARP inhibitors allow blood -brain barrier
(BBB) penetration, and preclinical models confirm this. Dr. Anders hypothesizes that there is a way to augment the expected intracranial efficacy of PARP
inhibition plus chemotherapy.
In an ongoing phase II clinical trial, Dr. Anders's initial results illustrate both enhanced exposure and efficacy for Doxil® (a new form of
doxorubicin) plus a new PARP inhibitor calledABT-888. She and her colleagues are optimistic that their results will be translated to the clinic such that
early phase clinical trials can be designed based on preclinical findings. If successfully translated to the clinic, nanoparticle drug delivery plus PARP
inhibition could represent a new treatment paradigm for women with triple negative breast cancer brain metastases.
Dr. Anders is a clinician-scientist and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine, a member of both the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the UNC Breast Center. Dr. Anders's research focuses on the biology of breast cancer; during fellowship she did research examining age-specific genomic differences in human breast carcinoma. Her productivity included first author in Journal of Clinical Oncology and ten other research articles. She is currently serving as a voting member on the LIVESTRONG Young Adult Alliance Cancer Centers Working Group Steering Committee.
As a junior faculty member, she has addressed brain metastases arising from breast cancer. She has served as the Principal Investigator of a Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) Young Investigator Award examining the activation status of important oncogenic signaling pathways in human breast carcinoma brain metastases. She conceived, designed and serves as the principal investigator of a phase II, pilot study testing PARP inhibition in the setting of triple negative breast cancer brain metastases (first patient on study July, 2010). In parallel and supported by the UNC Chapel Hill Hematology Oncology K12, she has developed an intracranial triple negative breast cancer tumor model to test novel therapies, namely PARP inhibitors in combination with nanoparticle chemotherapeutics. Her BCRF-AACR Grant for Translational Breast Cancer Research award will foster the development of novel, therapeutic strategies to treat intracranial triple negative breast cancer to be tested pre-clinically at the bench and, if promising, allow for the design and conduct early phase clinical trials - a truly translational approach.