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BCRF Grantee Since


Donor Recognition

The ANN INC. Award

Nancy E. Davidson, MD

Director, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and UPMC Cancer Centers
Associate Vice Chancellor for Cancer Research
Hillman Professor of Oncology
Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology & Chemical Biology
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Member, BCRF Scientific Advisory Board

Current Research

Dr. Davidson’s BCRF studies involve both clinical collabortions and laboratory research aimed at improving outcomes in breast cancer. As head of the U.S. component of the international collaborative efforts of the North American Breast Cancer Group (NABCG) and the Breast Cancer International Group (BIG), she is engaged in collaborative efforts to leverage the collective research efforts and expertise of the groups to reduce the burden of breast cancer. The working groups of BIG and NABCG continue to focus on important issues related to endocrine therapy, male breast cancer, and development and use of new molecular biomarkers. Their most recent collaboration is the AURORA program, supported through BCRF’s Founder’s Fund, which was created to study the molecular biology and alterations in metastatic breast cancer, and recent meetings within the group have focused on potential opportunities in this area. New working groups have been established that will explore the identification of new molecular targets in primary breast cancers to prevent metastasis or recurrence, collaborative efforts in triple negative breast, as well as in utilizing circulating tumor biomarkers. Support from BCRF continues to allow these groups to work together to reduce the burden of breast cancer through promotion of joint research efforts.

Dr. Davidson’s second BCRF project focuses on her laboratory’s research studying a process of gene regulation called epigenetics, a chemical modification of DNA or chromosomes that causes abnormal gene expression and affects cancer development and progression. Unlike gene mutations that are permanent changes to the DNA that can be passed on through families, epigenetic changes are not permanent or inherited and can be reversed. In her ongoing studies, Dr. Davidson is looking at two proteins, called LSD1 and LSD2 that regulate epigenetic changes to DNA and have been associated with cancer growth and metastasis. Her goal is to understand how they work in promoting breast cancer and to develop strategies to block their activity. She has linked their activity to specific tumor growth pathways and is in the process of developing and testing several drug inhibitors that can prevent their activity and stop cancer growth. Experiments in cultured breast cancer cells have been promising and may lead to clinical testing of drugs to kills cancer cells that express high levels of these proteins.


Dr. Davidson is an experienced laboratory, translational, and clinical investigator. She has co-authored over 300 papers, reviews, and editorials in the peer review literature. Served as an elected member of the Boards of Directors for the American Association for Cancer Research, American Society of Clinical Oncology, and Association of American Cancer Institutes and was president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in 2007-8. Serves on the external advisory boards for 9 National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers and is a member of the scientific advisory boards for the V Foundation for Cancer Research, Sidney Kimmel Foundation for Cancer Research, and Breast Cancer Research Foundation. She is the recipient of several awards for breast cancer research; 2012 ASCO Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award, and is an elected member of the Association of American Physicians and the Institute of Medicine.

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