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Pioneering science at UCLA Health has changed breast cancer treatment worldwide

UCLA Health Connect blog

Post Date:October 14, 2021 9:00 AM
Image of UCLA researchers Dr. Sara Hurvitz and Dr. Dennis Slamon
Dr. Dennis Slamon (left) found a mutation in the HER2 gene, in the 1980s, common to a very aggressive form of breast cancer. Though UCLA Health is a multidisciplinary system with breadth beyond cancer, its advances in research and treatment for people with cancer stands alongside those generated by cancer-specific centers, says Dr. Sara Hurvitz (right).

Long before Dennis Slamon, MD, PhD, was universally recognized for scientific discoveries that changed the trajectory of breast cancer and improved health outcomes for countless people across the globe, he just wanted to look at cancer differently.

“We were very much interested in the idea of translational cancer research,” says Dr. Slamon, director of clinical/translational research and chief of the division of hematology/oncology at UCLA Health. “Taking the knowledge coming out of basic science and applying it, where appropriate, to new approaches to clinical medicine and new therapies.”

“Herceptin has altered the natural history of that subtype of disease, turning it from a bad-prognosis type of breast cancer to one that actually has a better prognosis than the other subtypes,” says Sara Hurvitz, MD, medical director of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Clinical Research Unit and a colleague of Dr. Slamon.

Click here to read the UCLA Health Connect blog.

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