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Elisa Port, MD, FACS
Chief of Breast Surgery
Director of the Dubin Breast Center,
Mount Sinai Hospital
Associate Professor of Surgery
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
New York, New York
Goal: To provide new therapeutic options for patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).
Impact: Drs. Port and Irie have identified a promising target that can enhance sensitivity of TNBC cells to chemotherapy and may also enhance anti-cancer immune responses. Their findings could lead to the development of better therapeutic strategies for TNBC.
What’s next: Using laboratory models of TNBC, the team will validate a drug against this novel target and translate these findings to combat high-risk, chemotherapy-resistant TNBC.
TNBC is an aggressive form of the disease that is more likely to spread and is difficult to treat. Chemotherapy is standard of care for patients with TNBC, but resistance is common; plus, there are few targeted therapies available for TNBC. Drs. Port and Irie are investigating ways to improve response to existing treatments and identifying new targets for drug development. They are currently studying a promising target they discovered that could prevent the growth of TNBC and improve response to chemotherapy.
Full Research Summary
Research area: Improving response to therapies in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) and identifying new targets for drug development.
Impact: Better therapeutic strategies are urgently needed for TNBC, an aggressive form of breast cancer that is more likely to spread and is challenging to treat. Patient response to standard chemotherapy is highly varied, and few targeted therapies exist to treat TNBC. Drs. Port and Irie are focused on identifying and validating novel therapeutic strategies to combat high-risk, chemotherapy-resistant TNBC by targeting processes that promote the growth, survival, and spread of breast cancer cells.
Current investigation: The team has been studying a protein called PRKCQ that not only regulates the growth and invasiveness of TNBC cells but could also impact immune cells that infiltrate the tumor, protect cells from chemotherapy treatment, and promote metastasis.
What they’ve learned so far: Drs. Port and Irie have successfully targeted PRKCQ in the laboratory with a novel drug that enhances tumor cell sensitivity to chemotherapy and suppresses their growth and ability to spread.
What’s next: The team will continue to explore how TNBC becomes resistant to therapy, validate their new drug in laboratory models, and translate their findings to treat high-risk, chemotherapy-resistant TNBC.
Elisa Port, MD, FACS joined Mount Sinai Hospital and its Icahn School of Medicine in 2010. She serves as Chief of Breast Surgery and Director of the Dubin Breast Center. After receiving her medical degree from Mount Sinai in 1992, Dr. Port was a general surgery resident at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles until 1994. She then joined Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for a breast cancer surgery research fellowship, and later completed a general surgery residency at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. In 1999 she joined the staff of Memorial Sloan Kettering Breast Surgery Service where she remained until her Mount Sinai appointment in early 2010.
Dr. Port performs hundreds of operations each year, and is a leading expert in sentinel-node biopsy, nipple sparing mastectomy, as well as the use of breast MRI.
Dr. Port is the author of “The New Generation Breast Cancer Book: How to navigate your diagnosis and treatment options-and remain optimistic- in the age of information overload”, recently published by Random House.
Dr. Port actively conducts both clinical and basic science research. With external grant support, Dr. Port researched PET scanning in the preoperative staging of patients with breast cancer, and also has conducted a trial investigating the role of COX-2 inhibitors in breast cancer. Her BCRF-supported research is focused on the development of new strategies to prevent triple negative breast cancers from progressing and metastasizing.
Her research has been widely published in numerous journals, including the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, Annals of Surgery, and Cancer Research. She is also a member of several professional associations, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Breast Diseases, the Society of Surgical Oncology, and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.