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BCRF Grantee Since

1998

Donor Recognition

The Play for P.I.N.K. Award

Area(s) of Focus

Edith A. Perez, MD

Deputy Director At Large, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
Serene M. and Frances C. Durling Professor of Medicine
Division of Hematology/Oncology
Group Vice Chair, Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology
Mayo Clinic
Jacksonville, Florida

Current Research

In 2013-2014, Dr. Perez's team will focus their efforts upon development of a novel analytical tool that enables them to identify patients who are unlikely to benefit from standard therapy that targets the HER2 protein. Identification of such patients has great clinical significance, since these individuals will require increased surveillance and additional therapies. Several new therapies are currently being tested in clinical trials, and Dr. Perez's long term goal is to develop assays that will predict which HER2 patients will require these more aggressive therapeutic approaches.

Mid-Year Summary

Dr. Perez and her team are currently studying gene expression patterns from over 1200 HER2 patients to identify features that predict failure to respond to Herceptin. They have recently identified a panel of genes and developed a novel statistical model to “score” tumors. Their preliminary data indicate that patients with low scores are unlikely to benefit from conventional HER2-targeted therapy exemplified by Herceptin. Their second objective is to figure out alternative ways to treat these patients. Their analyses indicate that HER2 regulates several key steps in cell division, particularly those steps involved in separating the newly synthesized DNA into two new cells. The researchers are testing combinations of drugs that target these processes by different mechanisms, and initial results indicate that such combinations will kill Herceptin-resistant tumor cells at clinically achievable doses.Completion of these studies will help researchers to determine new ways to identify women whose tumors are resistant to conventional therapy as well as new therapies to optimally treat such women.

Bio

Dr. Edith A. Perez is the Deputy Director at Large for Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Florida, Group Vice Chair of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, Director of the Breast Program, and the Serene M. and Frances C. Durling Professor of Medicine at Mayo Medical School. She is also Chair of the Mayo Clinic Breast Cancer Translational Genomics Program started in 2009 and Chair of the Breast Cancer Specialty Council formed in 2012. She is a cancer specialist and an internationally known translational researcher. Her roles extend nationally, including positions within Mayo Clinic, the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Perez has developed, and is involved in, a wide range of clinical trials exploring the use of new therapeutic agents for the treatment and prevention of breast cancer. She also has developed studies to evaluate the role of genetic markers in the development and aggressiveness of breast cancer.

Dr. Perez has authored more than 650 research articles in journals, books, and abstracts. She receives invitations to lecture at national and international meetings frequently, and serves on the editorial boards of multiple academic journals.

Dr. Perez is a recipient of several honors including: the Horizon Achievement Award in Cancer Research (2002); the North Florida Hispanic of the Year Award (2003); the Mayo Clinic Outstanding Faculty Award (2002 & 2004); the Mayo Clinic Distinguished Educator Award (2003); the named Serene M. and Frances C. Durling Professorship of Medicine (2006); Honorary Doctorate of Letters, University of North Florida (2006); Mayo Clinic Distinguished Investigator (2007); the Florida State Biomedical Research Advisory Council [BRAC] (2009-2012); member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society (2009); Mayo Clinic Outstanding Course Director (2009); EVE Award for Lifetime Achievement (2011); NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award (2011); one of the 75 Most Influential People in Jacksonville Healthcare from Jacksonville Magazine’s 904 (2012); Jacksonville University Woman of the Year (2013); The Girls Inc. Woman of Vision Award (2013), and the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research (2013).

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