Learn about upcoming events, recent announcements, and more.
Learn about upcoming events, recent announcements, and more.
APRIL 2019

Katherine L. Nathanson, MD, Named Inaugural Pearl Basser Professor for BRCA-Related Research  

A new gift to support the Basser Center has established and endowed the Pearl Basser Professorship for BRCA-Related Research. Katherine L. Nathanson, MD, deputy director of the Abramson Cancer Center and director of genetics at the Basser Center, has been appointed the inaugural chair holder. The gift comes from Shari Basser Potter and Len Potter. The new chair will further strengthen the research efforts of the Center, helping to quicken the pace of new discoveries for individuals and families with a BRCA mutation. 

This gift continues a family legacy of philanthropy inspired, in part, by Shari’s mother, the late Pearl Basser. Pearl, who passed away in 2017, and her husband Philip Basser, instilled in their children the importance of giving back. In 2012, Shari’s sister and brother-in-law, Mindy and Jon Gray established the Basser Center, named in honor of their sister Faith, who died of BRCA-related ovarian cancer at age 44.

“Len and I are dedicated to the mission of the Basser Center, and know that its work to increase awareness and conduct groundbreaking research in hereditary cancer will lead to innovative new approaches to cancer treatment and care,” Shari said. “We are thrilled to be able to honor my mother, Pearl, and help the Basser Center provide better options and hope to individuals and families with BRCA mutations. Pearl would be proud knowing that someone of Dr. Nathanson’s exceptional caliber will hold a professorship in her name.”

Read the press release.

Taking the Uncertainty Out of Interpreting BRCA Variants

The Journal of the American Medical Association discusses a new resource that may help guide clinical decision-making. Basser executive director Susan Domchek, MD, and co-author of the PLOS Genetics paper says, "This is a website that you can go to, put in the variant, and it will give you the classification. Anything that comes through as a variant of uncertain clinical significance in a commercial lab or things that are splice site or missense [mutations] are particularly valuable to have a second look at.”

Pancreatic Cancer Treatments Show Promise in Studies


The Philadelphia Inquirer highlights a Penn Medicine and Basser Center study, led by Kim Reiss Binder, MD, an assistant professor of Hematology-Oncology, which examines PARP inhibitors in patients with BRCA mutations.

Congratulations to Dr. Reiss Binder, who has also recently been named the 2019 awardee of the Basser Young Leadership Council's Young Investigator Award.

Knowledge is Power: Understanding and Managing BRCA-Related Cancer Risk


On Thursday, March 28, 2019, the Basser Center and Congregation Beth El in Berkeley, CA, presented a panel discussion about the experience of living with BRCA mutations and hereditary cancers. Experts in the field discussed genetic counseling and testing, preventive care, and much more. Panelists included Dr. Susan Domchek, medical oncologist and Basser Center executive director; Dr. Samantha Langer, Kaiser Permanente breast surgeon; Dr. Allison W. Kurian, medical oncologist and associate professor at Stanford University School of Medicine; as well as two community members impacted by these issues; and the panel was moderated by journalist Jill Werman Harris.

If you missed the event, watch it now:

Pearl and Philip Basser Innovation Research Award Winner: Mehran Makvandi, PharmD, RPh, BCNP


The Pearl and Philip Basser Innovation Research Award has been established to honor an early career investigator conducting innovative BRCA-related research at the University of Pennsylvania. Candidates are considered from across a variety of disciplines including basic, translational and clinical researchers. The award provides the recipient with a one year, unrestricted research grant. 

The 2019 awardee is Mehran Makvandi, PharmD, RPh, BCNP, assistant professor of radiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
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