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Winter 2016
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Oakland, CA
March 10-12, 2017

2017 Living Beyond Breast Cancer Conference on Metastatic Breast Cancer
Philadelphia, PA
April 28-30, 2017


January 18, 2017
12:30 pm-1:30 pm (ET)

New to BreastCancerTrials.org?

We welcome patients, long-term survivors, or those at risk to consider clinical trials as a routine option for care. Explore our Matching Tool and QuickView Browser to find a trial that's right for you.

From the Director: 
A Successful Collaboration to Support People Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer

As the year draws to a close, I'm reflecting on all that we have accomplished in 2016. One of the things I'm most proud of is the ongoing success of Metastatic Trial Search. We led an effort in partnership with Breastcancer.org, Living Beyond Breast Cancer, Metastatic Breast Cancer Network, Triple Step Toward the Cure, and the Young Survival Coalition, to develop a tool that would make it easier for women with metastatic breast cancer to find trials that they might qualify for. We've gotten feedback from a number of women that this new, easy-to-use tool, which can be accessed from each of our websites, has helped them and others they know. In 2017, the search tool will also be easily accessed from seven other websites-- Cancer Support Community, Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance,  SHARE Cancer Support Susan G. Komen, Theresa's Research Foundation, and Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation--expanding our reach even more.




mainStudying New Ways to Treat Brain Metastases

W hen breast cancer spreads beyond the breast and lymph nodes under the arm to other parts of the body, it is considered stage IV, or metastatic. Not all cancers are equally likely to spread to the same organs. Breast cancer typically spreads to the lungs, liver, bone, and brain.

Studies suggest between 15 and 30 percent of metastatic breast cancer patients will develop brain metastases. But the risk of developing brain metastases is not the same for everyone. Patients with triple-negative breast cancer and HER2-positive breast cancer are more likely to be diagnosed with brain metastases than those with other types of breast tumors.

Systemic treatments--drugs that move throughout the body--that can kill tumor cells in, say, the lung or liver, are not typically able to kill tumor cells in the brain. That's because before it can get to the cancer cells, the drug must cross the blood-brain barrier. The blood-brain barrier plays an important role in daily life, by keeping substances that could damage the brain out. But its tight borders have typically prohibited most cancer treatments from getting in. Researchers are trying to develop new drugs and identify existing drugs that can cross the blood-brain barrier. 

Michelle Melisko, MD, an oncologist at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, treats breast cancer patients and conducts research on new cancer treatments. BreastCancerTrials.org spoke with Dr. Melisko about advances in treating breast cancer brain metastases and when patients with brain metastases should consider clinical trials.

Michelle Melisko, MD
Q: Are you seeing more breast cancer patients with brain metastases? If so, why do you think that is?

A: We are seeing more breast cancer patients with brain metastases. It's not that the biology of breast cancer is changing. It's because we have an increasing number of treatment options and patients are living longer after they've been diagnosed with metastatic disease. Also, we are doing imaging more frequently and the scanners we are using are more sensitive, so we are able to pick up brain lesions that are much smaller than we could before.

Q: Should women with brain metastases consider a clinical trial as initial treatment?   Read more

Editor/Writer: Sue Rochman
Design: Claudia Fung


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