Breast cancer conference creates new community of researchers

Media Contact
Ann Claycombe

Director of Communication

College of Arts and Sciences

A new community of breast cancer researchers – from Atlanta and around the world – is taking shape at Georgia State University starting Sept. 18.

The 2017 International Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) Conference was organized by Ritu Aneja, professor of biology. It is the first international conference on the subject.

Aneja is also a founder of ICART, the International Consortium for Advancing Research on Triple Negative Breast Cancer. ICART’s vision is to bring eminent breast cancer research groups from all over the world together to improve our understanding of TNBC and find better treatments for patients. Aneja is a firm believer that collaboration will be key in conquering this challenging breast cancer subtype.

“We don’t know enough about the biology of the disease, about the factors that affect its course in individual patients, or good targets for therapy,” Aneja said. “Studies have shown that genetic ancestry can influence tumor biology in TNBC, so we need researchers from different areas of expertise and from around the globe to share their insights. These questions are far too complicated for any individual lab to solve.”

TNBCs don’t test positive for any of the three markers usually used to figure out what specific type of breast cancer a patient has. TNBCs are big trouble, for multiple reasons. They are aggressive and tend to spread through the body. While researchers have developed targeted drugs for many subtypes of breast cancers, they have not been able to do so yet for TNBCs.

Finally, TNBCs are much more common in African-American women than in European American women. Black women in the USA die from breast cancer at higher rates than white women, and aggressive, hard-to-treat TNBCs are the main reason why.

The conference will address these problems from many angles, pulling in doctors, biologists, epidemiologists and cancer survivors from 11 different countries. The attendees are among some of the most eminent in the field. Ian O. Ellis of the University of Nottingham, U.K., who created the modern system for grading breast cancer, will deliver the inaugural address. Charles M. Perou of UNC-Chapel Hill, a leader in the characterization of the diversity of tumors, will give the keynote address.

Atlanta’s biomedical community will be there in force, with attendees from Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Emory University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Northside Hospital, Dekalb Medical, and the Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education.


The 2017 International TNBC conference has been made possible by grants from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities, Pfizer Inc. and Georgia State University. Supporting partners include: the College of Arts & Sciences, the Department of Biology, Molecular Basis of Disease, the Center for Diagnostics and Therapeutics and the Biology Graduate Student Association, all at Georgia State; Emory Glenn Family Breast Center in the Winship Cancer Institute; Georgia Center for Oncology Research & Education; the Emory Winship Cancer Institute’s Cancer Prevention and Control Program; Northside Hospital Cancer Institute; Agilent Technologies; Biocare Medical; Myriad; Morehouse School of Medicine; Fisher Scientific; and Jyant Technologies, Inc.

For more information please visit the conference website.