BCRF sat down with Dr. Patricia A. Ganz to discuss her current work and interest in breast cancer research. Read on to learn more.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself and how you became interested in breast cancer research.
A: I became interested in the treatment of breast cancer early on in my career, as there were so many advances that were improving survival for women (early detection, adjuvant therapy, breast conserving treatment). With my move to UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center (full-time), and the advent of the first breast cancer prevention trial, it was clear to me that we might some day be able to prevent breast cancer in many women. That was really exciting. I also began to follow an increasing number of breast cancer survivors and was interested in preventing and treating some of the side effects they experienced.
Q: Briefly describe your research project.
A: BCRF has been critical in funding innovative research that has allowed us to study the fundamental biological mechanisms associated with fatigue and cognitive changes after breast cancer treatments. Understanding the biology of these late effects is critical to finding strategies to prevent and treat them so that women can feel better as they live longer after breast cancer.
Q: What are your primary goals for this research?
A: To understand who is at risk for side effects from breast cancer treatments and how they can be prevented.
Q: Who do you think will benefit from your research?
A: There are over 2 million breast cancer survivors in the US and many more worldwide. All of them stand to benefit from what we learn.
Q: How has your research focus changed since your first BCRF grant, and how would you say that our grants have had an impact on your work and the field?
A: I have been able to take more risks and pursue highly innovative studies without pilot data. This has been enormously valuable. Our group is leading the way in understanding biological mechanisms underlying fatigue in breast cancer survivors.
Q: How close do you think we are to preventing or finding a cure for breast cancer?
A: Prevention is on the horizon, but the side effects of our treatments may make them less acceptable. In addition, we need to target those who are definitely at high risk, so we avoid toxicity in those who are not. Hopefully, some of the research we and others are doing will help.
Read more about Dr. Ganz's current research project funded by BCRF.