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Meet the Panelists

By BCRF | September 5, 2017

BCRF’s Annual Symposium and Awards Luncheon will be held at the New York Hilton Midtown on Thursday, October 19. The theme for the symposium is “Conquering Cancer: Breast Cancer and Beyond”. The panel will discuss the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead and field questions from guests on how research in one cancer type will benefit multiple cancers. For example, it is more important today to understand the underlying process driving a cancer, and to use drugs to target that process. It is less important in what part of the body the cancer starts. The panel includes experts who will discuss inherited risks of breast, ovarian and other cancers (such as mutations in the BRCA genes) and other non-genetic DNA modifications (called epigenetic changes) that alter gene expression, as well as exciting advancements in the field of cancer immunotherapy, how harnessing a person’s own immune system can be used to attack cancer. This year’s panelists include:

Larry Norton, MD. Dr. Norton is medical oncologist and the Medical Director of the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY. He is co-founder of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and has served as its Scientific Director since the Foundation’s inception in 1993. Dr. Norton has dedicated his life to the eradication of cancer by activities in medical care, laboratory and clinical research, advocacy, and government. His research has focused on improving the treatments of cancer, particularly the application of mathematical methods to optimizing dose and schedule, and understanding mechanisms of drug resistance in cancer.

Judy E. Garber, MD, MPH. Dr. Garber is a medical oncologist and Director of the Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention at the Susan Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Director of the Cancer Risk and Prevention Clinic at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA. Dr. Garber is the Chair of BCRF’s Scientific Advisory Board. Her research focuses on breast cancer genetics, including understanding familial risk with BRCA1, BRCA2, and PALB2 mutations, and prevention and risk reduction.

Nancy E. Davidson, MD. Dr. Davidson will be honored at this year’s Luncheon with the 2017 Jill Rose Award. She is the President & Executive Director of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Director of the Clinical Research Division of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA and a member of BCRF’s Scientific Advisory Board.  Dr. Davidson’s research focus is on understanding how non-genetic alterations to DNA (chemical modifications) affect response to therapy in estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer. Her laboratory studies have led to numerous clinical trials and translational research projects in breast cancer. Her current BCRF project is focused on targeting tiny, occult breast cancer clusters that have spread to other organs and to stop them from they become life threatening metastatic disease.

Jedd Wolchok, MD, PhD. Dr. Wolchok is the Chief, Melanoma & Immunotherapeutics Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Professor of Medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Dr. Wolchok BCRF project includes collaborations with Dr. Taha Merghoub and Dr. Larry Norton. Dr. Wolchok leads studies focusing on developing drugs and approaches to stimulate the immune system to attack cancer cells. This exciting field of cancer ‘immunotherapy’ has shown progress in clinical trial in some melanoma and lung cancer cases.  In 2017, Dr. Wolchok’s team is exploring several projects designed to advance the use of immunotherapy in breast cancer by tracking biomarkers (molecular signposts) of response to a HER2 vaccine and; testing combination approaches to enhance anti-tumor immunity and identifying new immune targets for therapy.