Here at Susan G. Komen Central and South Jersey, we are lucky to partner with many incredible researchers, doctors and scientists that make true advances in the breast cancer field. One such individual is Dr. Shridar Ganesan.
Shridar Ganesan, MD, PhD is the Chief of Molecular Oncology and Associate Director for Translational Research at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. He is considered an expert in DNA repair and breast cancer biology and has been invited to give lectures at major national and international cancer centers and major clinical and scientific breast cancer meetings including the San Antonio Breast Caner Symposium and the American Association for Cancer Research. Dr. Ganesan’s clinical work is focused on breast cancers and rare cancers, with a special interest in the biology and treatment of triple-negative breast cancers and BRCA 1/2 associated breast cancers.
Dr. Ganesan will be joining us as a guest speaker for the second annual IMPACT Luncheon on Friday, March 23, 2018 at The Hamilton Manor. This is an event aiming to educate and inspire while raising funds for life-saving breast cancer services in our local communities.
We chatted with Dr. Ganesan to learn more about his passion for research and his fight to end breast cancer for good.
Komen CSNJ: What inspired your choice to work in women’s health, particularly with breast cancer and breast cancer patients?
Dr. Ganesan: One of my early experiences as a medical resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston was helping to take care of a 31-year-old woman with advanced breast cancer. She was being cared for by Dr. Judy Garber, and I was deeply affected by both the patient’s experience and Dr. Garber’s caring approach to her. I kept in touch with this patient; she had a dramatic response to initial therapy, but ultimately the disease returned and she passed away a few years later.
This experience showed me both the great potential therapeutic effect of chemotherapy and its clear limitations. It made me want to learn more about the biology of breast cancer to make our treatments more effective and less toxic, and inspired me to go into oncology.
Komen CSNJ: Tell us a bit about how your research in breast cancer biology and DNA repair, and how you feel it will make an impact in developing new breast cancer treatments and discoveries.
Dr. Ganesan: Standard chemotherapy is highly effective in some patients but not in others. We are now realizing that patients whose tumor harbor specific defects in DNA repair, such as the mutations in BRCA 1/2 and related genes, may be specifically vulnerable to certain classes of chemotherapy agents and thus benefit the most from these therapies.
We hope our work allows characterization of individual patients’ tumors to personalize treatment with aim of maximizing effectiveness and minimizing toxicity.
Komen CSNJ: What are you most looking forward to as one of the empowering speakers at Komen CSNJ’s second annual IMPACT Luncheon?
Dr. Ganesan: I am looking forward to meeting the women and men whose lives have been affected by this disease and hearing their stories. Ultimately, it is the women and men affected by these illnesses and their families who are the most inspiring.
Komen CSNJ: What advice/inspiring messages do you have for women and men affected by breast cancer?
Dr. Ganesan: I think that the pace of both basic science and clinical research is accelerating and will lead to continued improvement in outcomes in breast cancer. However, the current advances and future progress cannot be done without the advocacy, commitment and selfless participation in clinical trials that is championed by the individual women and men with breast cancer and groups such as Susan G. Komen Central and South Jersey.
Want to hear Dr. Ganesan speak at the IMPACT Luncheon? Visit komencsnj.org/impact to get your tickets and enjoy an afternoon featuring empowering guest speakers, plentiful networking opportunities and exciting prizes, with a special recognition of breast cancer survivors.