Public Release: 

Yale Cancer Center Creates Laboratory For Earlier Detection Of Breast Cancer

Yale Cancer Center

Yale Cancer Center Creates Laboratory For Earlier Detection Of Breast Cancer

For Immeditate Release: 15 October 1997

Contact: Ilene Shub Lefland
ilene.lefland@yale.edu
203-785-4097
Yale Cancer Center

Yale Cancer Center Creates Laboratory For Earlier Detection Of Breast Cancer

(NEW HAVEN) -- A specialized research laboratory dedicated to earlier diagnosis of breast cancer has been established at the Yale Cancer Center. Marcia Israel, a Los Angeles philanthropist with a special interest in the disease, provided the seed money for creation of this laboratory.

In designating her gift for "The Marcia Israel Laboratory for Earlier Diagnosis of Breast Cancer," Israel cited the "excellent research" being undertaken at the Yale Cancer Center under the direction of Vincent T. DeVita, Jr., M.D., and stated that "seeing a mass on a mammogram is not early enough."

Experience already gained at the Yale Cancer Center with regard to precancerous legions concerning ovarian, pancreatic and colorectal cancer places this new laboratory in a perfect position to pursue the earlier diagnosis of breast cancer. Envisioned are new tests capable of detecting very small clusters of cells before they become visible on a mammogram.

New technologies in the field of cancer research now make it possible to determine mutations in single cells as well as in genetic material extracted from a very small number of cells. The biological materials obtained through such methods as fine needle aspiration can then be analyzed with exquisite sensitivity and specificity for the genetic alterations that are the hallmark of cancerous cells. New technologies also make it possible to look for mutated cancer molecules in the blood of patients.

"Researchers at the Yale Cancer Center have hopes not only of improving the detection of small cancers, but also of being able to identify women whose breast tissue is about to become cancerous," said Jose Costa, M.D., the Cancer Center deputy director under whose supervision the new laboratory falls. "These are the patients on whom we will ultimately want to test new cancer-preventing therapies."

The Marcia Israel Laboratory for Earlier Diagnosis of Breast Cancer will begin preliminary research by October. Scientists have already begun to adapt the latest technological advances to the study of patient samples, and in collaboration with investigators and physicians from the Yale Comprehensive Breast Center, the design of clinical trials using the new techniques is underway. As director of the Yale Cancer Center, Vincent T. DeVita, Jr., M.D. will coordinate the laboratory's activities with ongoing clinical studies at the Cancer Center.

Marcia Israel was founder and CEO of "Judy's" and "G.H.Q. For Men," 104 specialty fashion stores that were sold in 1989. She has received many honors and business awards including the "Woman of the Year Award" from the Los Angeles Times, the prestigious "Entrepreneur of the Year Award" presented by the School of Business of the University of Southern California, and the "National Order of Merit" as "Officier," which is equivalent to the Legion of Honor.

Israel was appointed by President Reagan to chair the important committee dealing with "Small and Minority Business Ownership," which she served for six years. In 1982, the Secretary of the Navy appointed Israel to an 11-person board which governed the billion dollar business of the Navy and Marine exchanges. She served for three two-year appointments and received a Medal for Distinguished Service.

She is currently adjunct professor at the Marshall School of Business at USC, teaching the Undergrad Entrepreneur Program, and is Life Trustee on the Board of Directors of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The Yale Cancer Center welcomes Marcia Israel as a member of its Director1s Advisory Board.

The Yale Cancer Center is one of 27 Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the country designated by the National Cancer Institute and the only one in Southern New England. Bringing together the resources of Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Yale University School of Medicine, its mission encompasses patient care, research, cancer prevention and control, community outreach and education. The Cancer Information Service, a Yale Cancer Center program funded by the National Cancer Institute, provides up-to-date information on cancer prevention, detection and treatment. Trained cancer information specialists are available to answer questions Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).

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