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Albert Grinshpun, MD, MSc

Albert Grinshpun, MD, MSc

Grant Status

Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School

Grant Type
ICRF-Conquer Cancer (The ASCO Foundation) Career Development Award

Project Title
Universal Detection of Breast Cancer

Tumor Types

Research Topics
Breast Cancer

About the Research:

Breast cancer is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. In the Western world,
almost one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime.
Generally, breast cancer diagnosis occurs in three main paths: (1) women seek for medical
attention with breast-related symptoms such as palpable mass, (2) screen-detected tumors
using mammography, and much less often (3) women with metastasis-related symptomatic
illness (e.g. bone pain, jaundice). At the end of each of these paths, the woman must undergo
an invasive procedure named ‘biopsy’ to confirm the diagnosis.

In the U.S. alone, there are more than 1 million breast biopsies each year. About 20% of these
procedures yield a diagnosis of breast cancer. A standard biopsy involves a needle insertion
into the breast with accompanying discomfort and procedural shortcomings such as risk of
underestimation of true lesion extent. Moreover, a significant number of women undergo more
than a single breast biopsy during life.

Dr. Albert Grinshpun’s research team has successfully developed a universal liquid biopsy approach that is able to detect breast-derived circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in women with breast cancer. The
method is based on the detection of tissue-specific methylation patterns in cfDNA in the
peripheral blood.

In this proposal, Dr. Grinshpun intends to further enhance and improve this liquid biopsy method, validate
its performance and test its capabilities in a real-life scenario: women who undergo
breast imaging and are referred to an invasive biopsy. The aim of this research is to change medical practice
by developing an accurate minimally-invasive alternative for standard breast biopsy.


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