Titles and Affiliations

Robert and Kate Niehaus Chair in Inherited Cancer Genomics
Chief, Clinical Genetics Service
Vice Chairman, Academic Affairs
Department of Medicine,
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Member, Cancer Biology and Genetics Program,
Sloan Kettering Institute
New York, New York

Research area

Identifying new causes of inherited breast and ovarian cancer and to increase knowledge and awareness of personal risk.

Impact

In addition to the BRCA genes, there are many other genes that, when mutated, predispose women and men to breast cancer. Dr. Offit and his colleagues are conducting studies to identify other genes involved in hereditary breast cancer. They have identified a rare inherited cause of breast cancer and a type of therapy that may benefit affected patients. Their work continues to add to our understanding of the genetic risk of breast cancer and inform more personalized strategies for preventing and treating the disease.

Progress Thus Far

Dr. Offit and his team discovered a new class of susceptibility genes that increase risk for breast and other cancers. Over the past year, they performed a chemical screen of 10,000 molecules and found a small number that target these genes and are toxic to tumors. 

What's next

In the upcoming year, Dr. Offit will expand the chemical screen and work with chemists to devise molecules that can serve as potential drugs. In collaboration with BCRF colleagues at other institutions, he plans to analyze DNA sequences of hundreds of families with unexplained breast and ovarian cancers. In addition, Dr. Offit and his collaborators will publish their clinical study of internet-provided BRCA testing to individuals of Ashkenazi ancestry (the BRCA Founder OutReach (BFOR) Study). He and his team will also undertake a new internet-assisted study to explore “cascade” testing—systematically testing family members of those with known cancer risk mutations—which is a more efficient and timely alternative to genetic screening of millions of individuals in the general population.

Biography

Kenneth Offit is Chief of the Clinical Genetics Service in the Department of Medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). He is also Professor of Medicine and Public Health at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and Vice Chairman of the Program in Prevention, Control and Population Research at MSKCC. He received his AB at Princeton University and his MD and MPH from the Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation. He was awarded an American Cancer Society Career Research Recognition Award and the 2013 ASCO American Cancer Society Award for research in cancer prevention. Dr Offit is a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Cancer Institute, and of the Evaluation of Genomic Applications in Practice and Prevention working group of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Dr. Offit's research team identified the most common mutation associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer in those of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry. His group also published the first prospective study documenting a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancer following oophorectomy in women carrying inherited mutations of the BRCA genes, and the first genome wide association study of BRCA2 mutation carriers. Dr Offit's group has discovered or characterized inherited mutations associated with risk of breast, ovarian, colon cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and other malignancies. His laboratory currently focuses on utilizing genomic approaches to discover novel mechanisms associated with increased risk for common malignancies, or which modify the risks of known hereditary predispositions.

BCRF Investigator Since

2005

Donor Recognition

The Gray Foundation and BCRF Collaborative Award