Group 6B: Triple Negative Breast Cancer—Metastatic; Cancer Vaccines

Friday, June 10
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm Eastern Time (US/New York)

Mentor: Debbie Denardi

Debbie has been screened for breast cancer every 6 months since she was 27 years old due to her family history of breast cancer. Her mother and 3 of her sisters died after a breast cancer diagnosis in the ‘70s. They were all very young (40-45 years old). This family history was reported to every doctor she visited, but no doctor or nurse advised her to get tested for hereditary cancer. Finally, in 2010 when she was 48 years old and after 4 months of a clean mammogram and ultrasound, she was diagnosed with TNBC and a BRCA1 mutation.

Since her diagnosis and lack of education about hereditary cancers, she has been learning as much as she can to educate individuals and families about hereditary cancer. She started her volunteer work with FORCE (Facing Hereditary Cancer Empowered) and has served as a peer support leader in S. Florida since 2012. She also serves as the Treasurer for FORCE’s Board. During the first few years of her advocacy, she attended conferences and continued her local support. In 2018, she had the opportunity to start a new phase of her career and education in advocacy.

Twitter: @debsetu

Scientist: Michelle Williams, Ph.D.

Michelle Williams became hooked on laboratory research as a member of a high school research program at the University of Pittsburgh. She continued to study science throughout her undergraduate career at Allegheny College and in graduate school at Vanderbilt University, where she focused on breast cancer. Michelle was determined to identify pathways that breast cancer cells rely on to avoid death. She helped develop new therapies to target these pathways and some are now entering clinical trials. As a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Michelle is focused on breast cancer metastasis. Her current work explores how metastatic breast cancer cells secrete factors to prevent immune cell function, such as the ability of immune cells to kill tumor cells. Michelle hopes to develop this research program in her own independent laboratory that will focus on breast cancer liver metastasis. 

Twitter: @mwilli323