Basser Research Center for BRCA

Basser Investigator Publications

Investigators at the Basser Research Center for BRCA publish in a wide range of peer-reviewed journals focused on all aspects of cancer and genetics such as Journal of Clinical Oncology, Cancer, Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, PLOS Genetics, Nature Genetics, Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, Cancer Discovery, Journal of Medical Genetics, and many more.

Fall Research Roundup

Olaparib Shows Success in Tumor Response Rate for Patients with BRCA-Related Cancers

Olaparib, an experimental twice-daily oral cancer drug, produces an overall tumor response rate of 26 percent in several advanced cancers associated with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, according to new research co-led by the Abramson Cancer Center, including Susan Domchek, MD, Executive Director of the Basser Research Center for BRCA and senior author. Results of the phase II study were recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. The international research team studied nearly 300 patients with inherited BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations who had advanced cancers that were still growing despite standard treatments. Patients were enrolled and treated at 13 centers around the world. In addition to the overall shrinkage or disappearance rate in tumors following treatment with olaparib, researchers also found no further growth in cancer for at least eight weeks in 42 percent of patients. Read more about the results of this study here. The drug was recently approved by the FDA to treat advanced stage ovarian cancer in women with BRCA mutations. Read the FDA press release here.

Basser-Funded Team Finds Ovarian Cancer Oncogene in "Junk DNA"

Basser-funded investigator Lin Zhang, MD, Research Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, mined “junk DNA,” or what lies outside of protein-coding genes, and recently identified a non-protein coding  RNA whose expression is linked to ovarian cancer. This discovery provides a potential biomarker of BRCA-related cancer and the potential for new anti-cancer therapeutics. The study was published in Cancer Cell. Read more about this discovery and publication here.

Penn Researchers Explain How Ends of Chromosomes are Maintained for Cancer Cell Immortality

Maintaining the ends of chromosomes, called telomeres, is a requisite feature of cells that are able to continuously divide and also a hallmark of human cancer. “Telomeres are much like the plastic cap on the ends of shoelaces -- they keep the ends of DNA from fraying,” says Roger Greenberg, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Cancer Biology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Director of Basic Science for the Basser Research Center for BRCA. In a study published in Cell, he and his colleagues describe a mechanism for how cancer cells take over one of the processes for telomere maintenance to gain an infinite lifespan. Read more about this discovery and publication here

Basser-Funded Team Describes Cell Communications That Contribute to Treatment Resistance in Breast Cancer Patients

In a study published in the journal Cell, Andy J. Minn, MD, Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at the Perelman School of Medicine and the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute, and colleagues report findings from a preclinical study investigating the communication between stromal cells (those in the microenvironment of the tumor) and cancer cells in an effort to better understand treatment resistance in breast cancer patients. The researchers revealed a “crosstalk” between both sets of cells using paracrine signaling (communication by nearby cells) and juxtacrine signaling (communication by adjacent cells)—which increased the number of therapy-resistance cancer cells. Identifying such pathways not only provides insight into important biological mechanisms but also potential biomarkers for prognosis, prediction, and therapy. Read more here.


Click here for more Basser Investigator Publications

Scholarly Journal Covers