report of BCRF scientific conference 2004
"Mapping breast cancer: The biology of breast cancer yields clues for new prevention and treatment strategies."
Robert Weinberg, PhD
The Third Annual BCRF Scientific Conference on October 12, 2004, brought together nearly 90 grantees to review new developments in breast cancer research based on the underlying biology of the disease. Six BCRF investigators delivered presentations that sparked lively discussion. This Conference provides a rare opportunity for BCRF-funded scientists to share new findings and discover complementary ideas that can spark unusual collaborations across institutional lines.
, of the Whitehead Institute, talked about his laboratory's efforts to create breast cancer research models and also described recent findings about the biological mechanisms that underlie tumor cell metastasis. He was followed by Michael Wigler, PhD
, of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, who discussed a large-scale project to discover and map breast cancer-related genes, which will serve as guides to understanding cancer susceptibility and designing new treatments.
Joshua LaBaer, MD, PhD, described a major initiative under way at Harvard Medical School, where he and fellow BCRF grantee Joan Brugge, PhD, are using proteomic approaches to identify genes that play a role in early breast cancer development.
Arnold Levine, PhD, of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, reported on a small genetic variation in a tumor suppressor pathway that may help to account for individual differences in cancer susceptibility and the age of cancer onset.
Titia de Lange, PhD, discussed Rif-1, a breast cancer-related gene discovered by her laboratory at The Rockefeller University. In a collaboration mediated by BCRF, clinicians at Memorial Sloan-Kettering have been exploring how this gene is altered in families with breast cancer.
Benita Katzenellenbogen, PhD, of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, updated fellow scientists on her studies of hormonal influences in breast cancer. By delineating the body's responses to estrogen and other hormones, as well as to drugs such as tamoxifen, her work is laying the foundation for improved chemotherapies.
Larry Norton, MD, BCRF's scientific director, noted that a primary goal of the Conference is "to encourage new collaborations. Our idea is to find the very best basic and clinical researchers in the field and give them the resources they need to do something imaginative and creative--to think big and move forward." The attendees enthusiastically agreed that BCRF has met this goal. Generously underwritten by BCRF advisory board member Muriel Siebert, the Conference was hosted by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where Dr. Norton is deputy physician-in-chief and director of breast cancer programs.