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Carey Anders, MD
Associate Professor, Medical Oncology
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO
Studying the relationship between tumor microenvironment and breast cancer brain metastasis
Creating dataset of predictive markers for the prevention of brain metastasis
May uncover novel approaches to prevent or treat breast cancer brain metastasis, a particularly devastating disease
Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a rare but aggressive form of breast cancer. Many patients with TNBC will develop metastases and 50 percent of these will occur in the brain. There are few treatment options for breast cancers that have spread to the brain. Understanding the biology of breast cancer brain metastases (BCBM) is the key to developing new targeted therapies for this disease. Dr. Anders is conducting analyses on BCBM and primary breast cancers to identify rational targeted approaches to treat this disease.
Full Research Summary
Breast cancer brain metastases (BCBM) are a serious clinical problem associated with poor prognosis with no approved systemic therapy. Identifying the underlying biology of BCBM is critical to the development of effective anti-cancer agents to prevent and treat this disease.
Dr. Anders' Conquer Cancer Foundation research supported by BCRF is focused on the tumor genetics and the tumor microenvironment in brain metastases. In particular, she is interested in the brain microenvironment and tumor-infiltrating immune cells.
In the last year, Dr. Anders has shown that BCBM have both common and unique genetic profiles from the primary breast cancer. In particular, she has identified an immune signature in TNBC that has spread to the brain that could predict response to immunotherapy. In the coming year, she will initiate a Phase II clinical trial to test a combination of immune-based therapy with newly-approved PARP inhibitors in patients with TNBC that has spread to the brain.
Carey K. Anders, MD is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine and an active member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. As a clinician-scientist, she is Section Leader for the UNC Breast Program, Leader of the UNC breast cancer clinical trials program, and co-Director of the multi-disciplinary brain metastases clinic at UNC. Dr. Anders’ translational research program, which spans bench to bedside, focuses on the biology of triple negative breast cancer and brain metastases. She serves as the principal investigator for multiple clinical trials evaluating novel anti-cancer agents to more effectively treat patients with advanced triple negative breast cancer and brain metastases. In parallel and supported by the UNC Chapel Hill Hematology Oncology K12, NIH/NCI K23, LCCC SPORE and Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Award, she has developed multiple intracranial breast cancer tumor models to test novel therapies, including small molecule and nanoparticle chemotherapeutics in the laboratory. She is also devoted to uncovering the genetic and genomic underpinnings of triple negative breast cancer and brain metastases using Next Generation Sequencing, which is the focus of her Conquer Cancer Foundation Advanced Clinical Research Award supported by BCRF. Her ultimate goal is to translate preclinical findings into rationally-designed therapeutic strategies to improve survival and enhance quality of life for the many patients facing a diagnosis of triple negative breast cancer brain metastases.