Julia Dyckman Andrus Professor of Surgery
Director, Vascular Biology Program,
Boston Children's Hospital
Harvard Medical School
In order for a breast tumor to grow and spread it must build its own blood vessels by a process called angiogenesis. Without blood supply, a tumor cannot grow and will remain dormant, often doing no harm. Under the influence of certain genes, and the proteins that they encode, a tumor can escape the dormant state to become an active, growing one. The goal of Dr. Moses’ work is to identify and target these genes and their proteins with the intention of treating these early breast cancer lesions, as well as their metastases, before they become harmful. Her group is also working to discover non-invasive biomarkers of this escape from dormancy as well as of other stages of breast cancer. Their work in this area has already identified and validated a number of novel urinary proteins that can signal the presence of breast cancer, its progression and metastasis and the presence of high risk lesions. To complement these studies, they have recently begun to develop new drug delivery systems to specifically target triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).
Dr. Marsha A. Moses has had a long-standing interest in the biochemical and molecular mechanisms that underlie the regulation of breast tumor growth and progression. Dr. Moses and her laboratory have discovered a number of angiogenesis inhibitors, some of which are being developed for preclinical use. Named a pioneer in the exciting field of Biomarker Medicine by the Journal of the NCI, Dr. Moses established a Proteomics Initiative that has led to the discovery of panels of noninvasive cancer biomarkers that can predict disease status and stage in cancer patients and that are sensitive and accurate markers of disease progression and therapeutic efficacy. A number of these urine tests have been made commercially available. These diagnostics and therapeutics are included in Dr. Moses’ significant patent portfolio.
Dr. Moses’ basic and translational work has been published in such many peer-reviewed. She received a PhD from Boston University and completed a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellowship at Boston Children's Hospital and MIT.. Dr. Moses was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of the US in 2008 and to the National Academy of Inventors in 2013. She has been recognized with both of Harvard Medical School's mentoring awards, the A. Clifford Barger Mentoring Award (2003) and the Joseph B. Martin Dean’s Leadership Award for the Advancement of Women Faculty (2009). In 2013, Dr. Moses received the Honorary Member Award from the Association of Women Surgeons of the American College of Surgeons.