Carmel Medical Center
Professor and Chairman, Department of Community Medicine
Director, Clalit National Israeli Cancer Control Center
Understanding the origins of breast cancer.
The underlying cause of most breast cancers is unknown. Continuous funding from BCRF enabled Dr. Rennert and his team to develop one of the largest breast cancer studies in the world, incorporating 30,000-plus individuals—of Israeli and Arab descent—with and without breast cancer. This study now has 20 years’ worth of data that inform health habits and risk factors and trends in breast cancer incidence and mortality. Biological samples from this study, collected and analyzed over time, now benefit from new analytical technologies such as artificial intelligence, and are subjected to retroactive tests to develop new insights.
This year, the team identified 290 more women who developed breast cancer under the age of 45. They were studied for mutations in all common genes reported to be associated with breast cancer occurrence. In women without these mutations, they were tested for genetic indicators of immunological processes in the tissue. While still in process, several differences were identified between mutation carriers and those where mutations have not been identified.
In the coming year, the team will continue to study women who developed cancer early (before age 45). They will continue to build a comprehensive dataset with individualized information on genetic mutations and biological drivers that may increase breast cancer risk.
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.
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