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Elisa Port, MD, FACS

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

New York, New York

Titles and Affiliations

Chief of Breast Surgery, Mount Sinai Health System
Director of Dubin Cancer Center, Mount Sinai Hospital
Associate Attending, Tisch Cancer Institute

Research area

Investigating how to overcome drug resistance and restore drug sensitivity in triple-negative breast cancer.


Despite advances in treatments for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), an aggressive form of breast cancer that is more likely to spread than other subtypes, it remains a deadly disease for many patients. While chemotherapy and immunotherapy are effective for some patients, not all respond or sustain their response to those treatments. Drs. Port and Irie are working to combat drug resistance in TNBC by understanding how cancer stem cells, a small subpopulation of cells found within triple negative cancers, contribute to and promote drug resistance. They are using these new insights to overcome resistance by identifying novel therapies that target cancer stem cells specifically.

Progress Thus Far

The team has identified a novel drug that kills cancer stem cells, restores chemotherapy sensitivity in TNBC, and blocks the growth of disease that has already spread in laboratory models. This drug inhibits multiple pathways that are active in breast cancer stem cells and triggers a favorable anti-cancer immune response in laboratory models by recruiting activated immune cells to tumor sites to kill cancer cells and block tumor growth. There is synergistic, sustained inhibition of triple negative tumors with this drug in combination with approved immunotherapy in their laboratory models of TNBC.

What’s next

The team is comprehensively characterizing the changes in immune cell composition and activity caused by cancer stem cell inhibition to better understand the mechanisms of immune evasion promoted by cancer stem cells. These insights will help them translate their promising findings for use in future clinical trials with the goal of enhancing the efficacy of immunotherapies and achieving cures for a larger population of patients diagnosed with TNBC.


Elisa Port, MD, FACS is the Chief of Breast Surgery and the Director of the Dubin Breast Center at Mount Sinai Hospital. She is also the Associate Attending Physician in the Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount-Sinai School of Medicine. After receiving her medical degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in 1992, Dr. Port was a general surgery resident at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. 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. She is currently working on developing research protocols for investigating the use of avatar models in triple negative breast cancer. Her clinical research work involves investigating and characterizing the role of MRI, 3D mammography, and patient decision making in breast cancer screening and surgery. Dr. Port has an active practice and performs hundreds of operations each year. She is an expert in sentinel-node biopsy, nipple sparing mastectomy, as well as the use of breast MRI in high-risk patients. 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.

BCRF Investigator Since


Donor Recognition

The Amy Robach Award


Hanna Irie, MD, FACS

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
New York, New York