Interview with Prof. Sibylle Loibl, MD, Ph.D., CEO of The German Breast Cancer Group
HTG Molecular Diagnostics (HTG) proprietary RNA platform enables ultra-efficient gene expression profiling to unlock a differentiated and disruptive approach to transformative drug discovery so patients diagnosed with diseases such as breast cancer can understand what genes are differentially expressed and which pathways are affected. Why does this matter? Because once you understand what's causing the disease, you're in a better position to fight it.
HTG had the honor of interviewing Prof. Sibylle Loibl, MD, Ph.D., the Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the German Breast Group (GBG), one of the leading study groups worldwide, to discuss evolving trends and issues about breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.
In the Q&A feature segment, Dr. Loibl answers misunderstood questions about the diagnosis of breast cancer:
HTG: Can you explain why breast cancer in young women is more likely to be found at a later stage and is often more aggressive and difficult to treat?
Prof. Dr. S. Loibl: The majority of patients will probably not think of being a putative cancer patient at a young age and ignore symptoms like a lump.
HTG: What should young women do to prevent late detection of breast cancer?
Prof. Dr. S. Loibl: To take early signs, like a lump, seriously and to visit a doctor even in unclear cases. In families with breast cancer, it is important to consult a specialist for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
HTG: How does being diagnosed with breast cancer affect young women later in life?
Prof. Dr. S. Loibl: One of the central questions in the breast cancer scientific community is: Can women become pregnant after having had breast cancer? Today we say yes, they can because retrospective series have shown that breast cancer is negatively influenced by a subsequent pregnancy. Some data even suggest a better outcome for patients who become pregnant. It might be ‘the healthy mother effect.’
HTG: How can genetic testing help determine someone's risk of developing breast cancer?
Prof. Dr. S. Loibl: About 5-10% of all breast cancers are gBRCA-related. If we know that the mother had breast cancer and she is a carrier of a defect BRCA gene, then the daughters have a 50% chance to be a carrier too. A woman who is a gBRCA carrier but has not developed breast cancer yet needs to undergo an intensified screening program which should start five years before the youngest family member had breast cancer.
HTG: What is Neoadjuvant breast cancer therapy?
Prof. Dr. S. Loibl: Neoadjuvant breast cancer therapy stands for any systemic therapy like chemotherapy or other anticancer treatment given before surgery. Treatment after therapy is called adjuvant therapy. With neoadjuvant therapy, we can measure the response to the treatment and can subsequently tailor the postsurgical therapy based on the response. To date, the German Breast Group has conducted 15 studies in the neoadjuvant setting and after more than 20 years of clinical experience, [the] cure of breast cancer becomes increasingly real.
The social mission of HTG is to help improve the care of patients across all disease states. Our work, which builds on more than a decade of innovation and partnerships with biopharma leaders and major academic institutes, seeks to leverage the power of transcriptome-wide profiling to drive translational research, novel therapeutics, and clinical diagnostics across a variety of disease areas.