October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month we highlight three female scientists who have made significant contributions to the treatment of Breast Cancer.

Dr. Mary-Claire King
Dr. King is a professor of genome sciences and of medicine at the University of Washington. She identified the BRCA1 gene, which is responsible for inherited susceptibility to breast cancer. The isolation of BRCA1 has led to direct diagnosis of the 5-10% of all breast cancers that are hereditary. Her research has given geneticists insights into the nature of cancer-caused genetic mutations. King has used BRCA1 to develop a number of cancer testing, screening, and therapeutic procedures.

Dr. Laura Esserman, MD, MBA
Dr. Esserman is a surgeon and breast cancer oncology specialist at UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center, and co-leads the Breast Oncology Program at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Esserman is leading an effort to change the delivery of breast cancer services and the information systems used to support both research and patient care. She is the principle investigator of the I-SPY TRIAL program, a multi-site neoadjuvant clinical trial that has evolved into a model for translational research and innovation in clinical trial design. I-SPY combines personalized medicine with a novel investigational design to identify women at high risk of early breast cancer recurrence. It is underway at nineteen major cancer centers around the country.

Dr. Laura J. van 't Veer

Dr. van ‘t Veer is a molecular pathologist, the principle investigator of the Bay Area Breast SPORE, and Leader of the Breast Oncology Program in the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her research in molecular genomics contributes to the knowledge of who is at risk for breast cancer, how external factors may influence this risk, whether breast tumors are likely to metastasize or not, and which subtype of tumors will likely respond to what therapy.