Director, Methodist Cancer Center
Professor, Weill Cornell Medical College
The Methodist Hospital Research Institute
Triple negative breast cancer patients (TNBC) have poor outcomes due to high rates of recurrence, metastatic spread, and lack of approved targeted therapies. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop new targeted therapeutic approaches. Work by Dr. Chang and colleagues identified a set of genes that represent a treatment-resistance signature in patients with triple negative breast cancer. In preliminary laboratory experiments they showed that suppressing these genes could block tumor growth and metastasis. In the coming year, they will continue their studies to understand how this group of genes works to promote metastasis and to screen for other genes that may be important. Identification of these novel gene targets represents a significant breakthrough in the understanding of treatment resistance in TNBC. These findings may help medical researchers identify effective drug targets and improve outcomes of patients with triple negative breast cancer.
Dr. Chang obtained medical degree from Cambridge University, England and completed fellowship in medical oncology at the Royal Marsden Hospital/Institute for Cancer Research. She was awarded research doctorate from the University of London. Breast cancer has been the focus of her research. She plans to improve the outcome of breast cancer patients by translating scientific discoveries directly into clinical practice and therapeutics. To this end, her most recent work has centered on identifying the mechanisms by which breast cancer stem cells survive chemotherapy, radiation, and hormonal therapy, leading to recurrences, relapses, and metastasis. Her recent work has focused on the intrinsic therapy resistance of cancer stem cells, resulting in several publications and international presentations. In addition, she holds several federal grants evaluating novel biologic agents and patents on new technological advances, especially in the area of high throughput molecular profiling.