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. In previous work, Dr. Chang and colleagues identified two genes called RPL39 and MLF2 that impact the spread of TNBC by increasing blood vessel development by regulating nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). Inhibiting iNOS in triple negative breast cancer cells reduced tumor size and lung metastases. They will continue to study the mechanism by which iNOS contributes to cancer growth to identify potential therapeutic targets for treatment-resistant TNBC. In additional studies, they identified a set of genes involved in breast cancer stem cell (BCSC) self-renewal and metastasis and will work to determine how mutations in these genes contribute to the aggressive nature of TNBC. These studies 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.