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BCRF Grantee Since


Donor Recognition

The Hamptons Paddle & Party for Pink Award

Area(s) of Focus

Susan M. Domchek, MD

Professor of Medicine
Basser Professor in Oncology
Perelman School of Medicine
Executive Director of the Basser Research Center for BRCA1/2
Abramson Family Cancer Center
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Current Research

Although there have been great advances in immune therapy for cancer, many of the newly approved therapies are not effective for most patients with breast cancer. Drs. Domchek and Vonderheide believe that a direct vaccine against breast cancer is necessary to generate an immune response. Their goal is to establish methods that will not only treat breast cancer but also prevent it. They are currently conducting four clinical trials: 1) A novel peptide vaccine that targets two cancer proteins called telomerase and survivin. Patient enrollment in this trial is nearly complete; 2) A trial to test genetically engineered cancer fighting immune cells called T cells injected into the tumor. Enrollment in this trial is underway; 3) A trial testing a DNA vaccine for high-risk patients in remission after adjuvant therapy. Four patients have been enrolled on this new trial and the goal is to enroll up to 54 patients over the next 18 months; 4) A trial testing the combination of radiation therapy with the FDA-approved immune activator pembrolizumab. The breast cancer component of this trial was scheduled to begin enrollment during the summer of 2015.


Dr. Susan Domchek is Professor of Medicine and the Basser Professor in Oncology at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. She is the Executive Director of the Basser Research Center for BRCA1/2 at the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania. She also directs the MacDonald Women's Cancer Risk Evaluation Center, which focuses on genetic evaluation and medical management of patients and individuals with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations and other inherited risk factors for cancer.

Dr. Domchek graduated from Dartmouth College and received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School. She completed her clinical training at the Massachusetts General Hospital as a resident in Internal Medicine and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as a fellow in Hematology and Oncology. She was chief resident in medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital and joined the University of Pennsylvania faculty in 2001.

A member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Dr. Domchek was recognized as one of the Best Doctors in America, as well as in Philadelphia magazine's "Top Docs". She is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation.