Penn Effort to Expand Trials of Olaparib Leads to New Treatment Options for Patients with Advanced BRCA-Related Breast Cancer (June 2017)

Six years ago an international team of physician scientists known as BRCA-TAC led a charge to advance clinical testing of the PARP inhibitor olaparib in cancer patients with known inherited mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2. This June, during the plenary session of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting, that push came full circle with the presentation of results of the phase III OlympiAD trial demonstrating for the first time that olaparib is superior to chemotherapy in patients with BRCA-related advanced breast cancer.

“Although previous studies suggested olaparib could benefit patients with advanced breast cancers, we are now reporting that olaparib improves progression-free survival better than standard chemotherapy,” said study co-author Susan Domchek, MD, executive director of the Basser Center. Read more at Penn Medicine.

Hope and Hype Around Cancer Immunotherapy (June 2017)

Immunotherapy treatments are on the rise, thanks to recent studies carried out by international researchers. These treatments harnesses the body's own immune system to target and attack a disease, and includes vaccines, antibodies, drugs, and more. The Abramson Cancer Center's Dr. Robert Vonderheide, in collaboration with the Basser Center, is leading vaccine-based trials for the prevention of cancers associated with BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations. Read more at CNN.

Ethical Dilemmas Arise from Genetic Testing for Cancer (June 2017)

CURE Magazine discusses the complicated issue of genetic testing, with input from the experts on the Basser Center for BRCA's April 25th panel in Manhattan, which included the Center's Executive Director, Dr. Susan Domchek. "Identifying meaningful mutations and using those findings to promote cancer prevention and treatment — without causing harm along the way — will require the nation’s legislative and medical leaders to work through a number of difficult issues."

New $21 Million Gift Puts Basser Center for BRCA at the Forefront of Advancements for Patients At Risk of Inherited Cancers (May 2017)

A new $21 million gift to the Basser Center for BRCA at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania from alumni Mindy and Jon Gray will cement and propel Penn’s preeminence as a leader in research to improve treatment and prevention strategies for hereditary cancers.  The gift brings the Grays’ total commitment to $55 million, following their initial $25 million gift that established the Basser Center in 2012, and subsequent gifts to support the Center, which advances BRCA gene mutation-related science around the world. Read more at Penn Medicine and Bloomberg.

In the War Against Cancer, Modesty is Not an Ally (November 2016)

An article from the Toronto Star profiles Steven Narod, MD, FRCPC, FRSC, director of the Familial Breast Cancer Research Unit and a senior scientist at the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, whose seminal work on BRAC1 and BRCA2 breast cancer genes earned him this year's Basser Global Prize. Narod is the first Canadian to receive the annual recognition from The Basser Center for BRCA at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center.

Ask the Experts: How to Talk About Family Medical History at Thanksgiving (November 2016)

With the holidays right around the corner, there may be people cringing at the thought of anything resembling politics being discussed at the family table. As an alternative topic, getting together with relatives can be the perfect opportunity to discuss your family medical history. Danielle McKenna, Amanda Brandt and Dana Clark, genetic counselors at Basser Center for BRCA, discuss with Philly.com how best to approach the topic and important questions to ask.

'In Our Genes' Event Raises Research Funds, Builds Community for Those at Increased Risk of Breast and Ovarian Cancers (October 2016)

When faced with cancer or any other difficult situation in life, Cure writes that one of the best medicines can be to hear stories and advice from others. This was the key point Susan M. Domchek, MD, made in her closing remarks during last night’s “In Our Genes: An Evening of Storytelling” event in New York City. The event was put on by the Young Leadership Council (YLC) of the Basser Center for BRCA, and featured three speakers who told their stories of learning they — and in one case, a loved one — were positive for a BRCA mutation.

Basser Jean Bash 2015 Raises $8 Million and Launches rag & bone/JEAN x Basser Partnership (November 2015)

Over 1,000 people came together on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 in New York City to Unzip Their Genes at the Basser Jean Bash. The celebration helped raise over $8 million to support the Basser Center for BRCA at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center - the first and only center in the world solely dedicated to defeating BRCA-related cancers. Speakers included Robin Roberts from ABC’s “Good Morning America,” singer-songwriter Kara DioGuardi and performers included Freestyle Love Supreme and American Authors. The Basser Jean Bash also launched the limited stock rag & bone/ JEAN x Basser jeans. The jeans boast the Basser Center's distinct logo and are available exclusively at select Bloomingdales and rag & bone retail stores and ecommerce platforms with seven percent of the sale price benefiting the Basser Center.

Local Media Coverage


Are the Kids All Right? When Breast Cancer Runs in the Family (October 2015)

CBS News and HealthDay report on a new study, led by Angela Bradbury, MD, an assistant professor of Medicine and an investigator in the Basser Center for BRCA, which examined the psychosocial development of girls from families with a history of breast cancer or a known genetic risk for it, compared to girls without a family history of the disease. The study found that girls from breast cancer families have higher levels of anxiety about their risk for the disease but seem to adjust just as well as other girls when it comes to general anxiety, depression and overall psychosocial adjustment. The results of the study were published in the journal Pediatrics on October 20, 2015.

Susan Domchek, MD Receives Penn Medicine Award of Excellence (October 2015)

Susan Domchek, Executive Director of the Basser Center for BRCA, received the 2015 William Osler Patient Oriented Research Award. Established in 1996 to honor Dr. Osler, the “Father of Clinical Medicine,” who revolutionized clinical teaching and research in the 1880s at the School of Medicine, the award is granted to a member of the faculty for a body of work, with an emphasis on clinical research, performed predominantly at Penn in the last five years.

Read more about past winners of the Penn Medicine Awards of Excellence. 

Basser Center for BRCA Awards $375,000 in National Grants to Support BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutation Research (October 2015)

The Basser Center for announced $375,000 in new grant funding to support BRCA-focused research projects across the nation. The grants are aimed at advancing the care of patients living with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. The Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, which houses the Basser Center, will administer the awards. The grants represent the second year of funding under the Basser External Research Grant Program, which supports translational cancer research projects with strong potential to advance rapidly into clinical practice. To date, the Center has awarded over $1.75 million in grant funding through the program.

“The projects funded this year are among the most promising of BRCA-related cancer research anywhere,” said Susan Domchek, MD executive director of the Basser Center for BRCA and the Basser Professor in Oncology at the Abramson Cancer Center. “Our colleagues across the country are doing exceptional work to continue providing real hope to at-risk patients, and we are pleased to play a role in ensuring that their research is given every opportunity to be completed, and potentially applied to patient care.”