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BCRF Grantee Since


Donor Recognition

The Estée Lauder Companies Brands Award in Memory of Evelyn H. Lauder

Judy E. Garber, MD, MPH

Director, Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Director, Cancer Risk and Prevention Clinic,
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Boston, Massachusetts
Member, BCRF Scientific Advisory Board

Current Research

Women with mutations in the hereditary breast cancer genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, have much higher risks of breast and ovarian cancers that often develop early in life. The role of the BRCA genes is to maintain the integrity of the DNA by making sure it is reproduced correctly (with no errors) when cells divide. Work by Dr. Garber, in collaboration with her Dana-Farber colleague David Livingston has identified a previously unknown function of BRCA that may yield important information about the early steps that a normal cell must take to transform into a tumor cell in BRCA mutation carriers. They have shown that the function of BRCA1 in a type of DNA repair called replication stress suppression is defective in normal cells from both skin and breast tissue of BRCA1-mutation carriers. In the coming year they will continue to explore this function of BRCA, as well as some of the other susceptibility genes (ATM, CHK2, PALB2 and RAD51C) that are involved in this process. These studies may lead to new insights into the early processes in the development of breast and possibly ovarian cancer in individuals carrying these inherited mutations and inform new approaches to cancer prevention for BRCA mutation carriers.


Judy Garber, MD, MPH is the Director of the Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention at the Susan Smith Center for Women's Cancers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Director, of the Cancer Risk and Prevention Clinic at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Her interests focus on breast cancer genetics, risk reduction and pharmacogenetics. Using epidemiology, biostatistics and molecular biology, she leads risk reduction studies that aid in the development of interventions for individuals identified with a hereditary predisposition to breast cancer. Her research includes the study of basal-like breast cancer, common in women with BRCA1 mutations. Her first neo-adjuvant trial of cis-platinum in patients based on the role of BRCA1 in DNA repair demonstrated a significant complete response rate that led to a series of trials, including a randomized phase II international, multicenter trial. She is the PI of a preclinical study of brief exposure early clinical evaluation of an oral MTOR inhibitor for risk reduction in BRCA1 carriers. Her research also includes the evaluation of novel agents targeting DNA repair defects in the treatment and prevention of triple negative or basal-like breast cancer, particularly platinums and PARP inhibitors.

Dr. Garber was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2013, and was invited to join the National Cancer Advisory Board in 2012. Previously she served on the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Cancer Institute. She is past president and current member of the Board of the American Association for Cancer Research.


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