Mihriban Karaayvaz, PhD

Mihriban Karaayvaz, PhD

Mass General Hospital Cancer Center

Mihriban Karaayvaz TBBCF Grant Recipient
Mihriban Karaayvaz, PhD

Making a major impact on the incidence and lethality of breast cancer will require a detailed understanding of the early events in breast cancer development, particularly in women who are at the highest risk of developing these cancers such as those who carry mutations in the BRCA1/2 genes. Unfortunately, few breast cancer studies are focused on these early events and on breast cancer prevention. We have established a method to analyze distinct cell populations from healthy mastectomy tissues of BRCA1/2 carriers and from tissues of patients undergoing reduction mammoplasty (non-carrier controls).

Through detailed molecular analysis of these tissues, we will determine the key functional properties of the major breast cell populations in BRCA1/2 carriers compared to controls in order to determine the cause of abnormal function within these cell populations.

Our preliminary data have revealed novel mechanisms of luminal progenitor (LP) cell regulation that may suggest a practical way to reverse cancer-associated LP deregulation and thereby decrease breast cancer risk. These studies are likely to have near-term impact, identifying new targets for breast cancer prevention for future clinical trials.

Dr. Karaayvaz obtained her PhD from Stony Brook University, where she studied the role of microRNAs in cancer and discovered a novel microRNA targeting BCL2 and increasing the cytotoxic effect of 5-fluorouracil. Dr. Karaayvaz has a longstanding interest in breast cancer biology and prevention, and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Mass General Cancer Center/Harvard Medical School in the laboratory of Dr. Leif W. Ellisen.

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