The Advocacy Core program, of which Collyar is program director, supports the NCI-funded San Francisco Breast SPORE research program. The Advocacy Core program has over 100 members, and conducts focus groups, projects and activities that are designed to identify the treatment and research issues that breast cancer patients believe to be the most important.
Larry Norton, MD, Chief of the Breast Cancer Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, will explain how researchers are trying to make the best use of genetic information in improving the lives of cancer patients, by learning to interpret the genetic fingerprints of tumors, the quality of which is improving exponentially with recent advances in laboratory technology and techniques.
Norton is using fractal geometry to develop models to help interpret these increasingly detailed genetic fingerprints so that the information can be used to improve cancer prognostication and treatment. If this genetic information is demonstrated to have value in tailoring treatment to individual cancer patients, as is expected, researchers suggest that within a few years oncologists will routinely be able to order new laboratory tests -- making use of sophisticated biosensors called "microarrays" -- to obtain detailed read-outs of the many genetic abnormalities commonly present in cancer cells.
Jeffery Struewing, MD, of the NCI's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics aims to determine just how cancerous "cancer genes" really are. In his presentation, Struewing will describe creative scientific approaches he is using to find more accurate answers to questions of genetic cancer risk.
Struewing and his NCI colleagues published findings in the May 15, 1997
issue of the New England Journal of Medicine suggesting that mutations in the
Contact: Jeffrey Norris
University of California - San Francisco