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The history and evolution of PAM50 & Prosigna from the laboratory to the clinic: how accurate biological classification can be used to best treat your patients.

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  • Charles M. Perou, PhD

    The May Goldman Shaw Distinguished Professor of Molecular Oncology
    Co-Director of the UNC Computational Medicine Program
    Professor in the Department of Genetics
    Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    Breast cancer is a prevalent disease with known clinical and molecular diversity. To address these challenges, my research uses a multidisciplinary approach based upon genomics, genetics, cancer biology, bioinformatics, epidemiology, and clinical trials research to improve the outcomes of cancer patients. A major contribution of mine has been the discovery of the intrinsic subtypes of breast cancer where here we demonstrated that breast cancers can be divided into at least five molecular subtypes using the “PAM50” assay. My lab has focused on identifying the molecular causes of each subtype, with particular attention on the Basal-like subtype, which represents >80% of Triple Negative Breast Cancers. We have discovered many of the genetic causes of each subtype, modeled these events in Mouse Models, and then used these models to investigate tumor biology, immune system interactions, and the efficacy of novel drug combinations. We have also translated these molecular finding into the human population using a North Carolina population-based study (i.e. Carolina Breast Cancer Study), where we found that African Americans were diagnosed with Basal-like Breast Cancers approximately twice as often as those of European decent. These studies have provided insights into the causes of the racial outcomes disparities seen in the USA.
    I have authored more than 470 peer reviewed articles, and have been named an inventor on multiple USA and European patents. I am currently the Co-Director of the Computational Medicine Program, Faculty Director of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center (LCCC) Bioinformatics Group, and Co-Leader of the LCCC Breast Cancer Research Program at UNC. I am also a member of the ALLIANCE Breast Committee, and Executive Steering Committee Member of the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium (TBCRC). I have co-founded 3 biotechnology companies (Bioclassifier, GeneCentric Therapeutics, and Reveal Genomics), all of which are focused on using genomic assays to make improvements for personalized patient care.
    My training history includes a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Bates College, a PhD in Experimental Pathology from the University of Utah, and postdoctoral work in the laboratory of David Botstein (then at Stanford University). I have won a number of awards including the AACR Outstanding Investigator Award for Breast Cancer Research, the Danaher Scientific and Medical Award, the European Institute of Oncology Breast Cancer Therapy Award, the Jill Rose Award for Distinguished Biomedical Research from BCRF, the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction from Komen, and the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Association of American Cancer Institutes. Lastly, I have been named a Thomson Reuters Most Highly Cited Researcher in 2014-21, where my work has received more than 210,000 total citations according to Google Scholar.

  • Prof. Torsten O. Nielsen

    Torsten O. Nielsen is a Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of British Columbia. After completing the combined MD/PhD program at McGill, he undertook training in England, Stanford and the Cleveland Clinic before taking a position as a clinician-scientist surgical pathologist, specializing in sarcomas and breast cancer. His contributions in sarcomas include the world's first large scale microarray studies of sarcomas; developing diagnostic tests including DOG-1, TLE1 and nanoString-based molecular panels; identifying the molecular biology driving tenosynovial giant cell tumors, synovial sarcoma and epithelioid sarcoma; and involvement in clinical trials for these tumor types. In breast cancer, Prof. Nielsen has published a series of well-cited studies applying molecular subtyping biomarkers onto large tissue microarray series. In doing so, he has worked to improve and standardize immunohistochemical tests for estrogen receptor, basal biomarkers, and Ki67, the latter as part of a dedicated international consortium. With funding from the NIH Strategic Partnering to Evaluate Cancer Signatures, he is a co-inventor of the PAM50 breast cancer intrinsic subtyping test to the point of FDA clearance as an internationally-distributed test. Prof. Nielsen is also involved in the training of a new generation of clinician-scientists in his role as director of the MD/PhD program at UBC.

  • Dr. phil. Martina Kirchner

    Martina Kirchner is a scientific Assistant at the Center for Molecular Pathology (CMP) at the Institute of Pathology in Heidelberg, Germany.
    She received her doctorate in Molecular Anthropology from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany.
    She specializes in molecular pathology and is responsible for the technical management of gene expression analyzes (e.g. Prosigna) at the CPM.
    Her research interests include the influence of the immune cells in the tumor microenvironment on therapeutic response in various tumor diseases.

September 27, 2022
Tue 6:00 PM CEST

Duration 1H 0M

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