Breast Cancer and BRCA Gene Research

Hadassah has done extensive research with the BRCA gene mutation that significantly increases a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. It was Hadassah that discovered at least a 10 times greater frequency of the BRCA mutation among Ashkenazi Jewish women. In addition, Hadassah found a different mutation in the BRCA gene in Persian women.

A Hadassah oncologist recently developed a blood test that reveals it is possible to predict the presence of harmful BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations in otherwise healthy women using a novel technology called gene expression profiling.

Hadassah’s Marlene Greenebaum Multidisciplinary Diagnostic Breast Center provides patients with the most sophisticated diagnostic technology and care available. And Hadassah’s Clinic for Oncogenetic Counseling is a source of pride. Founded in 1995, it has helped more than 4,000 patients to identify their genetic risks for cancer. Having identified BRCA mutations that are specific to women of Persian origin, Hadassah has pioneered the testing of these women who have a history of breast cancer in their family.

"This test can save the lives of many Persian women and their daughters," Prof. Peretz notes, "because it enables a physician to diagnose the cancer at an early stage." Prof. Peretz adds: "Not only are we saving the lives of women today, but we are also affecting the future of their children."

She explains that Hadassah employs a technique called Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) whereby an egg is fertilized through in vitro fertilization and, three days later, the embryo, now consisting of 6-10 cells, is examined to see if it is carrying a breast cancer mutation. If a BRCA mutation is found, that particular embryo is not chosen for implantation, ensuring that the women's children will not carry the mutated gene. Hadassah was the first in the world to use PGD to ensure that a woman who carries the BRCA mutation would not transfer this genetic abnormality to her children.

News & Stories


Tuesday, May 12 2015

Hadassah Hospital Senior Oncologist Dr. Asher Salmon Rejects Universal BRCA Gene Home Tests Without Analysis of Family History & Genetic Counseling

(New York, NY - May 11, 2015) – Dr. Asher Salmon, Oncologist & Deputy Director, Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem, Jerusalem publically renounces universal BRCA testing for women starting at age 30. His comment is in response to a new home testing kit endorsed by Genetics Researcher Dr. Marie-Claire King of the University of Washington and Color Genomics (NY Times, 4/21/15). Salmon maintains that the results of BRCA testing alone, without genetic counseling and extensive analysis of family history, do not provide women with the complete picture needed to make an intelligent decision regarding treatment.


Monday, Dec 2 2013

Update: New Test Developed at Hadassah Predicts Presence of Harmful BRCA Mutation Which Can Trigger Breast Cancer

On November 27, The New York Times put the issue of breast cancer in Israel on their front page, highlighting the country's high rate of the cancer. National President Marcie Natan responded to the article mentioning Hadassah Medical Organization's groundbreaking work in discovering the mutation which triggers breast cancer and the development of the blood test which reveals its presence.


Monday, Mar 10 2014

Hadassah Motivates Israel’s Government to Campaign for Women’s Heart Health

Thanks to advocacy by the Hadassah Medical Center's Linda Joy Pollin Cardiovascular Wellness Center, women's heart health took center stage in Israel's Knesset, with a special hearing in its Committee for the Status of Women and General Equality.


See More News

Contact Us

40 Wall Street

New York, NY 10005


More ›

Membership Questions


(800) 664-5646

Donation Questions


(800) 928-0685

Missions Department


(800) 237-1517

Show More