New TripeNeg Research

A friend who has suffered from bc sent this to me today. It might make for some interesting reading. As a triple negative, I am always interested in new research.

Although this takes place in the USA, we know how things ripple across countries, so it bodes well for all of us. The article follows:

Cancer Institute lands new director
Friday, November 14, 2008
By Mark Roth, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

One of the nation’s top breast cancer researchers has been chosen to head the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.
Dr. Nancy E. Davidson

Dr. Nancy E. Davidson, 54, who oversees breast cancer research at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in Baltimore, will begin her new duties in March.

“I’m extremely excited about this,” Dr. Davidson said yesterday. “The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute is one of the great cancer institutes, and I’m especially excited about how its research is so tightly integrated with patient care at the UPMC cancer centers.”

Although she has never lived in Pittsburgh, she sees many parallels with Baltimore, where she has worked since 1986. “It strikes me as another city with great people and a lot of beautiful neighborhoods, and it has those very beautiful rivers.”

The only serious adjustment her family will have to make, she said, is that her husband and son are avid Baltimore Ravens fans.

Dr. Davidson will replace Dr. Ronald Herberman, the founding director of Pitt’s cancer institute, who plans to devote more time to basic research.

She becomes the third woman to lead a top-10 cancer center, as measured by funding from the National Cancer Institute. The Pitt center now ranks 10th nationally in NCI grants, and pulls in 174 million in total research money.

The institute’s current programs in immunology, drug discovery and cancer virus research are “incredibly strong,” she said, and its treatment groups in head and neck, lung and skin cancer “are groups that have big grants that are very hard to come by.”

“My goal is to retain and build on these enormous strengths,” as well as lending her national prominence in breast cancer research.

Translating results in the lab to patient care has been a hallmark of her own work, and she has been particularly focused in recent years on breast cancer patients who don’t respond well to current treatments.

Most women with breast cancer have receptors for the female hormone estrogen, and thus can be treated with estrogen blockers like tamoxifen. Others with a cell-growth receptor called HER2 can be treated with a newer therapeutic agent known as Herceptin.

But some women lack both those receptors, as well as one for the hormone progesterone, and are known as “triple negative” cases.

Their cancer has been particularly hard to treat, and Dr. Davidson has been trying to find therapies for that group.

She said her group has found substances that have made it possible for breast cancer tissues in the lab to express the estrogen receptor again, and is now planning a trial with drugs that may allow these women to respond to tamoxifen or similar treatments.

She plans to shift her laboratory work here and as much of the research staff as she can persuade to come, she said, but because of her new administrative duties, will not be able to do much direct lab work herself.

One of her colleagues at Johns Hopkins, renowned cancer researcher Dr. Bert Vogelstein, said that Dr. Davidson “is one of the foremost breast cancer researchers in the world and is an expert not only in research but in clinical care of patients.”

On top of that, he said, “she is a joy to work with. Pitt’s very lucky to get her. Pittsburgh’s gain is Baltimore’s loss.”

She collaborated recently with Dr. Vogelstein in the first successful effort at decoding the entire genome of several women with breast cancer. Most of the women whose DNA was analyzed were Dr. Davidson’s patients, he said.

At Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the nation’s largest nonprofit foundation supporting breast cancer research, Dr. Davidson is well-known and highly respected, said Diana Rowden, vice president for health sciences.

Dr. Davidson received the Komen group’s Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in 1999.

“We’re thrilled for her as well as for the University of Pittsburgh,” Ms. Rowden said. “She is a stellar scientist and she is a truly compassionate physician who treats women with breast cancer as well as investing time in research.”

Born in Denver, Dr. Davidson moved to India as a child because her father worked for the U.S. Geological Survey and was involved in a project there. The family later moved to the Washington, D.C., area, and she attended high school in suburban Maryland.

She received her bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College and got her M.D. from Harvard University in 1979.

She worked at the National Cancer Institute before moving to Johns Hopkins, and last year, served as president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.


Hi Emily,

many thanks for posting this, will keep an eye on the results of this trial I think. It’s certainly good to know that research is being done to help us, lets hope it is successful and can be applied to all of us sooner, rather than later, as not all have the time to wait.


Yay to Dr Davidson!!!

I often wish I could thank those who have dedicated their working lives to the kind of work she’s doing, I know she certainly won’t read this this but Thanks anyway.