Clalit National Cancer Control Center
Carmel Medical Center
Dr. Rennert’s BCRF-supported project is aimed at identifying patterns of breast cancer behavior in patients with different demographic, pathological, and molecular/genetic patterns. Some of the genetic events are inherited, some are acquired and some are evident only in the tumor. Dr. Rennert’s team has reason to believe that women with different patterns will also have different survival patterns and different probability of developing other tumors, recurrence of tumors or metastases and response to treatment.
To date, Dr. Rennert’s team has recruited over 6,000 women with breast cancer into their study and has collected demographic and risk factor data, as well as blood samples, from all of these participants. This is now one of the largest cohorts in the world of women with breast cancer who have been consecutively recruited in a population-based manner. Dr. Rennert’s team is carrying out an extensive molecular analysis of the blood samples of each participating woman and is extensively evaluating all the medical records and histological reports of each patient. More than 100,000 genetic tests have already been performed in the study participants. When enough women with enough diversity are collected, Dr. Rennert and colleagues will be able to compare clinical patterns between various sub-groups. The results of this effort will allow them to provide better follow-up, potentially point at better treatment options and better prediction of survival. With the data collected to date, Dr. Rennert’s team has identified the use of a class of bone-drugs called bisphosphonates as possibly associated with reduced risk of breast cancer and reported it in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and have submitted data that associates bisphosphonate use with improved survival from breast cancer. They have also identified a mutation in a gene called MUTYH in North African women, which carries to an increased risk of breast cancer and reported it in the journal Cancer. This group is further evaluating the response to hormonal treatments given differences between women in their hormone-inducing genes and are able to provide preliminary survival curves for women with different breast cancer types.
Dr. Rennert’s team has thus far recruited close to 6800 women with breast cancer into their study and has collected demographic and risk factor data, as well as blood samples, from all of them. This is now one of the largest cohorts in the world of women with breast cancer who have been consecutively recruited in a population-based manner. This year they are also awaiting the results of a large genetic testing effort conducted by the NIH which includes more than 2000 blood samples from this study and which will evaluate more than 600,000 genetic variants in each of the samples.
Dr. Rennert is the Director of the CHS National Cancer Control Center in Israel and of the National Breast and Colorectal Cancer Detection Programs of Israel. He is also the Chairman of the Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine at Carmel Medical Center and the School of Medicine of the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.
Dr. Rennert's research is mainly focused on population-based molecular epidemiology studies of gene-environment interactions in the etiology of cancer, mainly of breast, colon, lung and gynecological cancers. His research group takes special interest in the unique genetic make-up of the Israeli population and its influence on the risk of cancer, on the development of means of cancer prevention and on the natural history of the disease, including the diagnostic process and response to treatment.
Dr. Rennert received his MD degree from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Medical School and his PhD in Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina School of Public Health in Chapel Hill.