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Lisa A. Carey, MD, MSc, FASCO
Physician-in-Chief, North Carolina Cancer Hospital
Deputy Director of Clinical Sciences, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
Preyer Distinguished Professor in Breast Cancer Research
Medical Director, UNC Breast Center
Lineberger Cancer Center
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Goal: To understand how different breast cancer subtypes respond to treatment.
Impact: Dr. Carey is collecting tissue, blood, and clinical data from patients with primary and metastatic breast cancer (MBC) to examine how different the metastases are from each other and from the original tumor in the breast. Her work may contribute to the development of more personalized treatments for patients with metastatic breast cancer.
What’s next: She and her colleagues will continue their efforts to collect tissue from patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) to examine molecular subtypes and behavior of metastatic disease. In the coming year they will conduct a prospective clinical trial that will examine molecular subtypes and behavior of metastatic disease to better guide treatment for metastatic patients.
Breast cancer is a collection of diseases, which makes treating it very challenging. While major subtypes have been identified (estrogen receptor-positive, triple negative and HER2-postive), scientists have discovered that these can be further sub-classified—and that this information could lead to the development of better treatments. Dr. Carey’s studies are aimed at understanding the impact of these subtypes on how tumors respond to treatment. She is currently analyzing primary and metastatic tumors to learn why some breast cancers spread to other parts of the body and others don't.
Full Research Summary
Research area: Understanding how different tumors respond to treatment and how tumors that have spread to other tissues vary from the original tumor.
Impact: Breast cancer is not just one disease. There are several subtypes, each with a different way of behaving in the body. Now, researchers are discovering that the major subtypes of breast cancer (ER-positive, triple negative, and HER2-positive,) can be further sub-classified. Dr. Carey and her colleagues have acquired blood and tissue samples from breast cancer patients participating in clinical trials in order to determine the impact of these subtypes on how tumors respond to treatment and how those that have spread to other tissues are different from the original tumor. The hope is that their findings will ultimately lead to better treatments for all types of breast cancer.
Current investigation: The team has been collecting tissue from patients with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) and is conducting studies to understand the molecular evolution of breast cancer metastases when compared to the original breast tumor.
What she’s accomplished so far: Due to the success of the BCRF-funded tissue collection programs at the University of North Carolina (UNC), Dr. Carey and her colleagues were recently able to open a new prospective clinical trial that will examine molecular subtype and behavior of metastatic disease to better guide treatment for patients with MBC.
What’s next: The team will continue collecting biospecimens and clinical data from patients with primary and metastatic breast cancer. These samples and information are being used in several strong translational studies at UNC that will improve our understanding of the biology of MBC and inform future clinical trials.
Lisa A. Carey, MD is the Richardson and Marilyn Jacobs Preyer Distinguished Professor in Breast Cancer Research in the Department of Medicine at the University of North Carolina (UNC). She graduated from Wellesley College, then received her medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where she remained for her residency in Internal Medicine followed by a fellowship in Medical Oncology and an advanced degree in Clinical Investigations. Dr. Carey joined the UNC faculty and Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1998. She was the Chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology and Physician-in-Chief of the North Carolina Cancer Hospital from 2012-2020. In 2020, Dr. Carey assumed the role of Deputy Director of Clinical Sciences at Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Dr. Carey has a longstanding research interest in the clinical application of laboratory findings in breast cancer, with a particular interest in the clinical implications of different molecular subtypes of breast cancer. She designs and leads clinical trials of novel drugs and approaches, and is a close collaborator with several laboratory investigators and epidemiologists. Dr. Carey has served in many roles for the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the NCI. She is a member of the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars, the recipient of the NCI Director’s Service Award, and honored to be a Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (FASCO). Dr. Carey serves as the co-chair of the Alliance National Cooperative Group Breast Committee since 2016.