Breast Cancer Research: Milestones
Vision and sheer determination have given us hope for breast cancer treatment and prevention.
1980 -- E. Donnall Thomas, MD, pioneered the technique of bone
marrow transplantation to treat cancer. He received the Nobel Prize in
1988 -- Dennis Salmon, MD, discovered that too much of the
cancer gene that produces the her-2/neu receptor is a feature of some 30% of
the most aggressive breast cancers.
1990 -- Mary-Claire King, MD, localized the BRCA1 gene for
inherited susceptibility to breast cancer to a specific site on chromosome
1994 -- Brian Henderson, MD, showed that exercise can reduce
risk of breast cancer in premenopausal women.
1994 -- David G.I. Kingston, PhD, reported results of the drug
Taxol as an effective second-line therapy for advanced breast cancer. He also
reported success with the drug Taxotere in treating breast cancer.
1998 -- Bernard Fisher, MD, reported that tamoxifen reduces the
incidence of breast cancer by 45% in high-risk women; this is the first
successful chemoprevention of breast cancer.
1998 -- Dennis Salmon, MD, showed that the drug Herceptin-r
improves survival of women with advanced breast cancer.
1999 -- V. Craig Jordan, PhD, reported that raloxifene reduces
the risk of breast cancer by 76% in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.
2002 -- Stephen Friend, MD, PhD, developed DNA technology to
predict which breast cancer patients will develop metastasis, thus making
aggressive chemotherapy a preventive measure.
2002 -- Bernard Fisher, MD, published results of his 20-year
study of 1,800 women: Total mastectomy offers no advantage over either
lumpectomy or lumpectomy plus radiation therapy.
Umberto Veronesi, MD, researcher with the European Institute of
Oncology in Milan, Italy, published the 20-year follow-up results of his study
of 701 women who had either lumpectomy plus radiation therapy or radical
mastectomy. The overall survival rate in the two groups was virtually
The saga of breast cancer research, of course, has not ended.
Many more names will be added to this list as dedicated people struggle to find
answers to the complex disease called breast cancer.