Moien Kanaan, PhD
Dean of Science and Director
2012-2013 BCRF Project:
The Roz and Les Goldstein Award
Hereditary Research Laboratory
Professor, Bethlehem University
Co-Investigators: Mary-Claire King, PhD
, University of Washington, Seattle, WA and Ephrat Levy-Lahad, MD
, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel
Drs. King, Levy-Lahad, and Kanaan have now enrolled over 640 breast cancer patients of Palestinian origin in their studies. They found mutations in known breast cancer genes in 8/48 (17%) patients who were analyzed for all known cancer genes. This high proportion is consistent with the team's hypothesis that since breast cancer is less frequent in the Palestinian population, a larger proportion of cases will be due to an inherited predisposition. They will now be analyzing all known breast cancer genes in an additional 176 cases with family history. They expect to identify new mutations, and in cases where no mutations in known genes are identified, they will search for novel breast cancer genes.
Mid-year Progress: This research team has now enrolled over 700 breast cancer patients of Palestinian origin and has begun their analysis by next generation sequencing. In the first 48 patients evaluated, they found inherited cancer-predisposing mutations in 17% of patients, in BRCA1, BRCA2, and four other genes. This proportion of patients harboring damaging mutations is among the highest seen in any population. It is consistent with the team's hypothesis that since breast cancer is less frequent and occurs in younger women in the Palestinian population, a larger proportion of cases will be due to inherited predisposition. They will analyze all known breast cancer genes in an additional 200 cases with family history or young age at diagnosis. The investigators expect to identify new mutations, and in cases where no mutations in known genes are identified, they will search for novel breast cancer genes.
Dr. Moien Kanaan is a leading Palestinian geneticist. Over the last 15 years Dr. Kanaan has been investigating the genetically isolated Palestinian population and its high consanguinity rate in identifying genetically based disease gene. This includes hearing loss, skin abnormalities, and congenital heart diseases. Utilizing large consanguineous Palestinian kindreds, Dr. Kanaan's collaborative work has been able to profile novel and variant alleles undermining hearing loss and Epidermolysis Bullosa in Palestinian population and just recently mapped and identified new hearing loss causing genes.
Currently Dr. Kanaan is Professor and Dean of Science, and the Director of the Hereditary Research Lab at Bethlehem University. Dr. Kanaan has been a member of Research Task Force in Palestine and has participated in many international research effort and scientific networks. Dr. Kanaan is a recipient of many research and scientific awards and is a pioneer in initiating the "Palestinian center of disease control."