Written by Nevella Paul, MBA, PMP
PMI Atlanta’s Healthcare October forum attendees enjoyed an informative presentation about breast cancer and BRCA1 by Dr. Veena Rao, Morehouse School of Medicine / Professor and Director Cancer Biology Program, Department of OB/GYN and a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar. Her long years as a researcher led to breakthrough findings in breast cancer research where she documented and replicated the BRCA1 isoforms.
Dr. Rao has been working in the BRCA1 field since the cloning of the gene in 1994 and has spearheaded numerous breakthroughs in breast and ovarian cancer research. Her work has recently led to discovering a BRCA1 function-based assay, which she patented. The assay is the only one in the world that can stratify risk for Triple Negative Breast Cancer development and develop drugs for targeted therapy for the disease which currently has no targeted treatments available.
Dr. Rao’s presentation began by sharing the 2017 cancer cases and deaths estimates in male and females. The astonishing estimates show breast cancer in females had a rate of 30% new cases and 14% deaths. This lead Dr. Rao to expound on the high mortality rates of breast cancer among African American women. Breast cancer risk factors such as breast density, obesity and type II diabetes were shared. To reduce the risk of developing these risk factors, Dr. Rao stated an adequate diet and exercise regimen should be followed.
Next Dr. Rao delved into the mutations of BRAC1 which are called BRAC1a and BRAC1b. BRCA1 mutations increase breast and ovarian cancer risks. African American women with BRCA 1 mutations and also have TNBC similarities to BRCA1-associated breast cancers. An illustration of the BRCA1 healthy cell and a BRCA1 cancer cell clearly showed the differences in non-tumor environment and a tumorous one. Dr. Rao also discussed tumor suppression and the role of stem cell activity to monitor how and where the BRCA has traveled.
Overall, the presentation was filled with excellent background information on breast cancer and breakthrough discoveries on the horizon to win the fight against breast cancer.
Please join us Wednesday, November 15 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Healthcare Forum for the: Keynote Presentation: “Patient Generated Health Data (PGHD) - The What, Why, and How’s” presented by Lucy Osuna, Healthcare IT professional.
Location: Philips Healthcare
One Deerfield Centre
13560 Morris Road
Alpharetta, GA 30004