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Lewis A. Chodosh, MD, PhD
J. Samuel Staub Professor
Chair, Department of Cancer Biology
Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute
University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
- Seeking to understand the mechanisms by which breast cancers develop and become resistant to therapy.
- Experiments are ongoing to study the process by which breast cancer cells survive anti-cancer therapy and recur years later.
- These studies will enable future efforts to identify women at elevated risk for breast cancer and the development of strategies to prevent recurrence.
Breast cancer cells that survive anti-cancer therapy can lie dormant for years and then “wake up” to form a new tumor. What allows them to live in dormancy and what wakes them up again is not well understood. Dr. Chodosh is conducting a series of studies to understand this process, including the role that obesity and weight loss may play.
Full Research Summary
The principal cause of death from breast cancer is tumor recurrence, which can occur 20 years or more after treatment of the original breast cancer. Mounting evidence suggests that recurrent breast cancers are fundamentally different from the primary breast cancers from which they arose. Consequently, drugs that are effective against primary tumors may be ineffective against tumors that have recurred.
Identifying the specific pathways and genes responsible for breast cancer recurrence may provide critical new drug targets essential for the development of more effective therapies.
Obesity and sedentary behavior are extremely common among breast cancer survivors and are associated with poor outcome. Dr. Chodosh is conducting studies to understand how and why obesity, diet-induced weight loss, and exercise affect the risk of recurrence and death. In particular his laboratory is interested in the role of these lifestyle factors may play in cancer cell dormancy and cancer recurrence many years later.
Understanding these effects will enable the design of behavioral and therapeutic interventions that have the potential to prevent tumor recurrence and, in doing so, reduce the mortality associated with metastatic breast cancer.
Dr. Lewis A. Chodosh is a physician-scientist who received a BS in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University, and MD from Harvard Medical School, and a PhD. in Biochemistry from M.I.T. in the laboratory of Dr. Phillip Sharp. He performed his clinical training in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, after which he was a postdoctoral research fellow with Dr. Philip Leder at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Chodosh joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania in 1994, where he is currently a Professor in the Departments of Cancer Biology, Cell & Developmental Biology, and Medicine. Dr. Chodosh serves as Chairman of the Department of Cancer Biology, Associate Director for Basic Science of the Abramson Cancer Center, and Director of Cancer Genetics for the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Chodosh also serves as Editor-in-Chief of Breast Cancer Research and is on the scientific advisory board for the Harvard Nurses' Health Studies I and II. His research focuses on genetic, genomic and molecular approaches to understanding breast cancer susceptibility and pathogenesis.