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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
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Member, BCRF Scientific Advisory Board

Current Research

Dr. Nancy Davidson heads the U.S. component of the international collaborative efforts of the North American Breast Cancer Group (NABCG) and the Breast Cancer International Group (BIG). For over 10 years the goal of the collaborative effort between NABCG and BIG has been to promote international research efforts to reduce the global burden of cancer. Over the next year special focus will continue to be placed on characterization of metastatic disease in collaboration with the AURORA program, supported through BCRF’s Founder’s Fund, which was created to study the molecular biology and alterations in metastatic breast cancer.  Support from BCRF continues to promote collaborative research efforts to reduce the burden of breast cancer and has helped to establish standards for clinical research across the globe.

Despite the overall success of endocrine therapy for patients with estrogen receptor(ER)-positive breast tumors, disease progression and resistance to treatments still remain important clinical challenges. There is urgent need to identify novel and effective treatment modalities to overcome these problems. In a separate study, Dr. Davidson’s laboratory is studying a process of gene regulation called epigenetics, a chemical modification of DNA that causes abnormal gene expression and affects cancer development and progression.  Changes in epigenetic gene regulation are known to drive the development and progression of breast cancer, as well as resistance to therapies. As such, the identification of factors that mediate such changes may reveal novel therapeutic strategies. The goal of Dr. Davidson’s work is to understand how epigenetic factors 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. The identification of epigenetic dependencies will broaden our understanding of ER-positive breast cancer and may pinpoint novel therapeutic targets to prevent disease progression and therapy resistance.


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. She is President-elect of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), has served as an elected member of the Boards of Directors for AACR, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and Association of American Cancer Institutes and was president of ASCO in 2007-8. Dr. Davidson serves on the external advisory boards for nine 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, the 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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