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Gad Rennert, MD, PhD
Director, Clalit National Israeli Cancer Control Center
Professor and Chairman,
Department of Community Medicine
Carmel Medical Center
Goal: To understand the natural history of breast cancer in women from diverse backgrounds who carry mutations in breast cancer risk genes.
Impact: Dr. Rennert is studying a large, ethnically diverse group of Middle Eastern women who have been newly diagnosed with breast cancer to determine how inherited genetic mutations and environmental exposures affect tumor characteristics. His work could help improve treatment decision and identify those at risk of recurrence.
What’s next: He and his team will continue to enroll participants to their study and to conduct long-term follow-up of those who are currently enrolled.
Many factors influence breast cancer outcomes and response to treatment. These include ethnicity, age at diagnosis, diet, exercise, biological and genetic characteristics of a patient, and so on. Dr. Rennert is leading an international effort aimed at understanding how these factors affect various aspects of the breast cancer including risk of recurrence and survival in women with an inherited risk of breast cancer.
Full Research Summary
Research area: Identifying different patterns of disease progression based across diverse populations
Impact: The identification of different disease patterns correlated with different sub-types of breast cancer will help to inform treatment decisions and identify predictors of survival. This includes disease patterns in women who carry mutations in specific genes known to be responsible for the development of breast cancer. Dr. Rennert and his team are using a large series of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients to study the pattern of disease behavior. These findings will inform better treatment decisions and to identify breast cancer risk profiles.
Current investigation: Dr. Rennert and his team are creating a large database of patients with newly diagnosed breast cancer which includes molecular analysis of each patient’s genetic background from blood and surgical tissue samples, recording of pathology reports at diagnosis and treatment modalities. In addition, they are conducting long-term follow up of these patients to detail recurrence or appearance of metastases and overall survival rates.
What he’s accomplished so far: Dr. Rennert and his colleagues have created a database of approximately 10,000 women with breast cancer, one of the world's largest series of breast cancer cases. The database contains full clinical annotation and molecular characterization that serves to identify sub-types of breast cancer. With an average follow-up time of about eight years, this represents a valuable resource on predictors of survival.
What’s next: He and his team will continue patient accrual and identify markers of recurrence which could then be used as early predictors of outcome and lead to a change in the mode of intervention.
Gad Rennert has been chairman of the Carmel Medical Center Department of Community Medicine and Epidemiology since 1992. He is a professor and the head of the public health and epidemiology teaching group at the Technion Faculty of Medicine.
Professor Rennert is also Director of the National Israeli Cancer Control Center and the Department of Epidemiology and Disease Prevention of Clalit and is leading its National Personalized Medicine Program offering testing, advice and policy on individualized molecular testing which dictates cancer risk and suitability for cancer treatments. He is responsible for the national breast and colorectal cancer detection programs in Israel and is a member of the National Oncology Council.
In 1984, Professor Rennert received his medical degree from Ben-Gurion Medical School. He received his PhD in Public Health from the University of North Carolina. He focuses his studies on understanding the behavioral and biological causes of cancer, with special emphasis on gene-environment interactions. He has been an invited speaker in key conferences, such as the Personalized Medicine World Conference, UPCP, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Association of Cancer Research, St. Galen Cancer Prevention conference and San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
In addition to his activities at the Technion, Dr. Rennert is a reviewer for more than 30 international journals, an associate editor of two and serves on 10 editorial boards. He has published more than 200 papers in leading journals such as the NEJM, Science and Nature.