Chevy Chase Trust hosted the third in a biannual series of events focused on issues important to women on February 15, 2017. This year’s event, Women & Progress, featured two empowering women in the forefront of their respective industries. Ambassador Melanne Verveer the Executive Director of Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security, and Claudine Isaacs, MD, professor of Medicine and Oncology and the co-Director of the Breast Cancer Program at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University.
Dr. Claudine Isaacs discussed recent advances in breast cancer research, genetic testing, and prevention strategies. Over the past three decades, advances in research have progressed along two paths: identification of breast cancer subtypes and drug development. By identifying specific subtypes in breast cancers, therapies and medications are no longer approached as one-fits-all as they have been in the past. Doctors are now able to better tailor treatments to patients and provide more individualized care. In addition, Dr. Isaacs asserts that clinical trials have been an important step in improving these tailored treatment options for breast cancer.
Genetic research is another area of rapid growth in the medical industry, and researchers are now able to determine whether an individual is predisposed to certain types of cancer. The genetic mutations that are tied to a likelihood of developing breast cancer are BRCA 1 and BRCA 2. By locating a genetic mutation, early steps to prevent breast cancer can be taken. Advancements in research, diagnosis, and treatment continue, and, according to Dr. Isaacs, the outlook for those affected by breast cancer, is better than ever before.
Dr. Isaacs earned her medical degree and completed residency training at McGill University. She completed fellowship training in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at McGill University and a Fellowship in Breast Medical Oncology in the Division of Medical Oncology at Georgetown University. She then joined the faculty in the Department of Medicine and Oncology at Georgetown University.