A champion of cancer research who has focused on understanding the underlying basis of cancer initiation and progression, Dr. Bissell has developed a new paradigm that a cancer cell’s microenvironment is as important to the process of carcinogenesis as the genetic defects that cause a given cell to become cancerous.
Dr. Bissell’s research on the comprehensive, biological causes of breast cancer has sparked an increasing number of discoveries associated with how the environment and neighboring cells of a cancer cell or tumor are able to influence the growth and spread of those particular cells. Her group has demonstrated that tissue architecture provides cancer-driving genes with instructions. In three-dimensional cultured human cells and in animals, breast cancer cells harboring tumor-driving mutations can be induced to behave normally if their microenvironment is restored to normal. They also have shown the relevance of polarity to tumor drug resistance. Whether these findings can be extrapolated to human therapy is now being explored.
2020 Gairdner International Award, Gairdner Foundation, Toronto, Ontario
2017 AACR Award for Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research
2012 AACR Distinguished Achievement Award in Breast Cancer Research
2012 Lifetime Achievement Award, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
2010 Elected Member, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.
2010 Elected Member, Royal Society of Chemistry
2007 Elected Fellow, American Philosophical Society
2007 AACR-Pezcoller Foundation International Award for Cancer Research
2008 Medal of Honor, American Cancer Society
2003 Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction, Susan G. Komen Foundation
2002 Elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
1999 AACR-G.H.A. Clowes Memorial Award
1997 Elected Member, Institute of Medicine
1997 President, American Society of Cell Biology
1996 Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award, U.S. Department of Energy
1994 Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
1985 First Joseph Sadusk Award for Breast Cancer Research
1969 PhD, Harvard University