TBBCF grant recipient publishes findings

TBBCF grant recipient publishes findings in cancer research journal
Dana-Farber oncologist leads study on blood therapies and cancer

By KATHLEEN EDGECOMB

A 2017 recipient of a Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation research grant is being recognized for her findings on innovative work with personalized blood biopsies to detect possible cancer recurrences.

Dr. Heather Parsons, who received a $100,000 grant from TBBCF and was the keynote speaker at the foundation’s 12th annual meeting in 2018, headed up a team of researchers from Gerstner Center for Cancer Diagnostics at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The work was published in Clinical Cancer Research, (link to article), a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Parsons is the co-first author of the study, and a medical oncologist at Dana Farber and associated scientist at the Broad Institute. The research demonstrates that blood biopsies can monitor up to hundreds of different cancer mutations in blood samples from individual patients, with potential to detect cancer recurrence — and inform treatment decisions — years before traditional approaches could, according to a press release sent out by Dana Farber. Link to press release

“This can be a very valuable blood test that can guide oncologists and patients in monitoring the potential return of breast cancer in patients,” said John LaMattina, president of TBBCF Board of Directors.

“It is a very tangible example of the potential value of the research that our walkers, volunteers and sponsors all support,” he said. “We fund young researchers throughout the Northeast doing cutting edge research. While it is difficult and unprecedented, when successful, the work can have big benefits for breast cancer patients and survivors.”

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