Breast Cancer Research Foundation-AACR Career Development Awards for Translational Breast Cancer Research

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation-AACR Career Development Awards for Translational Breast Cancer Research are given to junior faculty to support innovative research designed to accelerate the discovery, development, and application of new agents to treat breast cancer or for preclinical research with direct therapeutic intent.

2020 Grantee

Sheheryar Kabraji, BM BCh

Sheheryar Kabraji, BM BCh

Physician
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Boston, Massachusetts
Overcoming residual disease in HER2+ breast cancer

Research
HER2+ breast cancer recurrences can occur after HER2-targeting therapies due to surviving tumor cells known as residual disease (RD). Based on previous work, Dr. Kabraji hypothesizes that RD is facilitated by quiescent cancer cells that promote an immune-exhausted microenvironment. To test this hypothesis, he and his research group are set to investigate the immune response associated with residual disease after HER2-inhibition, in patients and mouse models. In addition, they plan to determine how quiescent cancer cells promote immune evasion in the setting of RD. Finally, they aim to evaluate combined quiescent cancer cell inhibition and immune checkpoint blockade to eliminate residual disease after HER2 inhibition in HER2+ breast cancer.

Biography
Dr. Kabraji received his medical degree from Oxford University Medical School and completed internal medicine residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. He completed his medical oncology fellowship in the Dana-Farber/Partners Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program and post-doctoral research at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, where he developed an assay to detect quiescent cancer cells in tissues. He is a breast medical oncologist at the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School. He studies how cancer cell quiescence promotes drug resistance in localized and metastatic breast cancer.

Acknowledgment of Support
I am deeply grateful to be a recipient of the 2020 Breast Cancer Research Foundation-AACR Career Development Award for Translational Breast Cancer Research. This award will support my transition to becoming an independent investigator tackling an understudied mechanism of drug resistance in breast cancer: cancer cell quiescence.