Distinguished University Professor
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Bronx, New York
Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) comprises approximately 15%-20% of all breast cancers. These aggressive tumors are treated with a cocktail of chemotherapy drugs; however almost two-thirds of patients do not respond and additionally suffer significant side effects, some of which are long-lasting and prevent them from receiving future therapy. The BCRF research of Drs. Horwitz and McDaid is focused on developmental therapeutics with maximal anti-tumor efficacy and minimal toxicity to improve the outcome of TNBC patients. In testing a panel of drugs in TNBC tumor cells they identified a promising new compound that is as effective as, but less toxic then Taxol, a powerful chemotherapy drug used to treat TNBC. They will continue testing additional structural analogues of this lead compound to obtain a drug with maximum tumor cell kill ability coupled with a low toxicity profile.
Dr. Susan Band Horwitz is a Distinguished University Professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She grew up in Boston and after graduating from Bryn Mawr College, received her PhD in Biochemistry from Brandeis University.
Dr. Horwitz has had a continuing interest in natural products as a source of new drugs for the treatment of cancer. Her laboratory has made Taxol, a drug isolated from the yew plant, Taxus brevifolia, a major focus of its work and today it is given to over a million patients. Dr. Horwitz' research played an important role in encouraging the development of Taxol by the National Cancer Institute.
Dr. Horwitz and her collaborators demonstrated that the effects of Taxol were due to a novel interaction between the drug and microtubules that identified Taxol as a prototype of a new class of anti-tumor drugs. Dr. Horwitz also has made significant contributions to our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying Taxol resistance in tumor cells.