20th Anniversary BRCA Gene Symposium

The Women's Cancer Program at the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute is hosting an international symposium in recognition of a pivotal breakthrough in cancer research history: the 20th anniversary of the discovery of the BRCA gene. This milestone in clinical genetics led to an understanding of the gene's function and the hereditary risks associated with breast and ovarian cancers when the gene is mutated.

To mark this anniversary and to further promote education and awareness, the Women's Cancer Program will host two separate events on Saturday, Sept. 13 — an educational forum for the medical community and a free event for the public.

From 8:30 am-3:15 pm, physicians, nurses, genetics counselors and scientists who work on understanding BRCA function and care for mutation carriers at risk for inherited cancers are invited to attend a continuing medical education program.

"Leading experts in genetics, and hereditary ovarian and breast cancers, will present information on advances in genetic testing, cancer screening and prevention, and management strategies for individuals with hereditary risk of cancer due to a BRCA mutation," said Beth Y. Karlan, MD, director of the Women's Cancer Program and chair of the event. "Participants in the symposium will include gynecologic oncologists, surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, obstetricians, gynecologists, primary care physicians, geneticists, genetic counselors, nurses and nurse practitioners."

The day's presentations will be divided into three parts: genetics of BRCA1/2, clinical manifestations of BRCA1/2 mutations in ovarian, breast and other BRCA associated cancers, and a discussion of current clinical controversies. Participants can register on the Continuing Medical Education Web page.

Following the clinical symposium, Cedars-Sinai will sponsor a public forum from 4-5:30 p.m. for all women and men at risk for hereditary cancers due to a BRCA mutation and all those who would like to learn more about the BRCA gene. Though researchers know a great deal about how the BRCA gene functions, affects cancer biology and responds to treatment, there is still much more to learn about hereditary risk. The community forum will highlight recent research advances and results from clinical trials, with an emphasis on new screening and treatment opportunities.

KTLA's Lynette Romero will moderate the public forum with expert panelists, including Karlan; Sue Friedman, DVM, executive director of Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered; Steven A. Narod, MD, one of the scientists responsible for the identification of the BRCA gene and director of the Familial Breast Cancer Research Unit at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto; and Judy E. Garber, MD, MPH, director of the Cancer Genetics and Prevention Center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

The public event is free, though registration is required. For more information and to register for either portion of the symposium, please call 310-423-5800 or email fay.shapiro@cshs.org.