the torch Summer 2015, Issue 2 - Page 17

F C U S O N R E S E A R C H Baylor, TGen & US Oncology study on triple-negative breast cancer most cited in American Association for Cancer Research journal Joyce O’Shaughnessy, M.D., Celebrating Women Chair of strong interest the oncology community has in understanding the Breast Cancer Research at Baylor University Medical Center at molecular basis of metastatic TNBC, and in the hypothesis that Dallas, served as co-lead author for the most cited study in 2013 targeting specific mutations in patients’ TNBCs will improve by the American Association for Cancer Research’s (AACR) jour- patients’ outcomes,” said Dr. O’Shaughnessy. nal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. Metastatic TNBC has a poor prognosis with a median survival In the study, genomic sequencing of 14 metastatic triple-nega- rate among metastatic patients of only one year. While TNBC tive breast cancer (TNBC) patients – spelling out the billions of accounts for only about 15 percent of all breast cancers, its more pieces of genetic information in an individual patient’s DNA – aggressive biology makes it responsible for nearly one in four deaths revealed therapeutic drug targets for this difrelated to this disease. ficult-to-treat form of the disease. “This study continues to stand as a great examBaylor Dallas, Translational Genomics ple of molecular medicine in practice. The results Research Institute (TGen) and US Oncology have provided novel and interesting clues into Research investigators worked collaboratively breast cancer biology and into the promise and and found significant recurring mutations challenges of precision medicine,” said John and other changes in more than a dozen genes Carpten, Ph.D., TGen’s deputy director of Basic in patients treated at Baylor Dallas. In addiScience, director of TGen’s Integrated Cancer tion, the investigators identified mutations Genomics Division, and the study’s senior previously unseen in metastatic TNBC and author. took the sequencing data into account in In addition to the gene sequencing trial, Baylor selection of therapeutic protocols specific to is currently involved in several research studies each patient’s genetic profile. to determine better ways to diagnose and treat “The nature of this disease cried out for breast cancer through more personalized therainnovative research techniques, such as whole pies for patients. One of these is a pilot study, genome sequencing, coupled with new tools which currently has 10 patients enrolled and was for data analysis,” said David Craig, Ph.D., Dr. Joyce O’Shaughnessy, Dr. John developed by Dr. O’Shaughnessy to test the effiTGen’s deputy director of bioinformatics, the Carpten and Dr. David Craig cacy of a vaccine on TNBC. study’s other co-lead author. Philanthropic support of innovative cancer Targeted therapeutic intervention aimed at altered pathways research is crucial to continue developing these advanced treatments. achieved antitumor responses in several cases. “The fact that this study has been cited more often than any For more information on research initiatives at Baylor, contact Sarah other in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics in 2013 is a testament to Burdi at 214.820.4721 or Sarah.Burdi@BaylorHealth.edu. 17