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Hadassah Leads the Way
Groundbreaking Breast Cancer Research at Hadassah Medical Organization

Groundbreaking Breast Cancer Research at HMO:

  • In 1995, Hadassah Medical Organization proudly joined with researchers at the National Institutes of Health to publish the groundbreaking dominant genetic research on BRCA1 mutations in the Ashkenazi, or Eastern European, Jewish community.
  • It was Hadassah that discovered a 10 percent greater frequency of the BRCA mutation among Ashkenazi Jewish women. Hadassah found a different mutation in the BRCA gene in Yemenite women and is currently researching mutations in the Georgian Jewish and Arab populations.
  • In 2008, the breakthrough in-vitro fertilization plus pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) of fraternal twins—performed at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem—offers hope to many defective-gene carrier couples around the world of having children free of their mutation.

Research by HMO Physicians:

Dr. Tamar Sella, Radiology Oncologist and Imaging Specialist

  • Ethiopian Community: Dr. Sella has investigated risk factors among two genetically identical populations of Ethiopian immigrants to compare breast density (a high-risk factor for breast cancer) in the two populations. She found more breast density in the second group and while first group displayed density similar to Israelis, revealing the influence of environmental factors.
  • Diagnostic Imaging: In 2003, Hadassah was one of the first in Israel to have a digital mammogram and the first medical center in Israel to perform MRI guided breast biopsy coil. Hadassah performs 1,000 MRIs and 100 MRI biopsies a year. In 2007, Real Imaging partnered with Hadassah to conduct clinical studies and is planning to launch its first international clinical study at the end of 2011. Dr. Sella has been involved in the research study, exploring infrared thermal imaging's ability to measure the temperature of the breast and indicate when breast cancer tissue is present. The device for the study is called RUTH.

Dr. Tamar Peretz, Director of Sharett Institute of Oncology and Professor at Hadassah-Hebrew University School of Medicine

  • BRCA Gene Mutation: Dr. Peretz has studied the varied breast cancer presentations in families with the BRCA gene mutation and examined the impact that both genetics and environmental factors can play in the development of cancer.
  • Psycho-Oncology Team: For the most part, organ-oriented multidisciplinary teams (lung, breast, for example) make decisions about patient treatments. Professor Peretz has pioneered the psycho-oncology team, which helps patients with the emotional aspects of having cancer, as well as a genetic oncology team, which tailors therapy for individual patients based on their genetic profiles.
  • Vaccine to Battle Breast Cancer: In 2002, Dr. Tamar Peretz's and the Sharett Institute of Oncology started to develop a vaccine to battle cancer, which was expanded in 2010 to include protocols for breast, gastrointestinal, and lung cancers. Cancer cells are removed from the patient's body, irradiated, and then inject back into the patient. Once the cells have been irradiated they no longer cause cancer, and can trigger an immune reaction within the patient to fight any recurrence of cancer.
  • Breast Cancer and Holocaust Survivors: Dr. Peretz's team is doing work with Holocaust survivors with breast cancer, a population with unique concerns and emotional needs. While many patients benefit from group therapy, Dr. Peretz's team has found that Holocaust survivors are uncomfortable with the concept. In response, the team developed a special program of individual emotional support for Holocaust survivors.
  • Breast Cancer in Orthodox Women in Jerusalem: Dr. Peretz's research has found that the incidence of breast cancer is lower in the orthodox population, however orthodox women tend to present with breast cancer at a younger age and in a more advanced stage. Partially this is due to lack of screening and early detection programs in the orthodox community. Researchers also believe that different tumor biology is responsible for the different pattern of disease presentation. Interaction of genetic factors with environmental factors may explain different disease presentation in a population with low risk factors (early age at first pregnancy, several children, and no use of hormones).

The New Marlene Greenebaum Multidisciplinary Diagnostic Breast Center

  • The new Center, located on the HMO Ein Kerem campus, was dedicated on April 12, 2011 under the direction of Dr. Tamar Sella.
  • The ultra-modern facility includes a large, comfortable waiting lounge, two mammography suites, two ultrasound rooms, a stereotactic biopsy room, a physician's examination room, a consultation room, an x-ray reading-film interpretation room and a research room dedicated to studies to improve breast cancer detection.
  • The Center's specially trained personnel help patients deal with the initial impact of diagnosis and work with them during the transition from diagnosis at the Center to treatment at HMO's Sharett Institute of Oncology, which is located in close proximity to the Center.
  • Community Outreach Activities: As part of its long-term vision, the Center plans to expand outreach to communities surrounding the hospital and across Israel. The objective is to increase awareness about the Center's services and access to them. Community outreach activities will include:
    • The development of educational outreach programs that target minority communities, including Arab women, ultra-Orthodox Jewish women, new immigrant populations and others.
    • The creation of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October) activities for the Israeli general public.
    • The initiation of an Internet Project that will feature question-and-answer sessions with medical professionals.
    • The establishment of a Special Fund for Needy Patients who are not insured through Health Fund.

Hadassah Breast Cancer Awareness Programs

THE UPLIFT PROJECT is Hadassah's community outreach campaign to promote breast cancer awareness here in the United States and around the globe.

Learn how to do Breast Self Examination with our Check it Out® for Adults video

Breast Cancer Awareness Resources

The Future is Now: New Ways of Detecting Breast Cancer

Dr. Tamar Sella, Director of Hadassah Medical Organization's Diagnostic Breast Imaging Center, direct from Jerusalem! (taped October 9, 2013)

Watch the livestream event >>

Breast Cancer Update: Early Detection and Treatment

by Diane Issenberg

Learn more now >>

Hadassah Leads the Way

Groundbreaking Breast Cancer Research at Hadassah Medical Organization

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A Behind the Scenes Tour of the Marlene Greenebaum Multidisciplinary Diagnostic Breast Center

Watch it now >>.


Join Hadassah coalition partner CancerCare for free Connect® Workshops. Experts in oncology provide the most up-to-date information on the telephone.

To register, call 1-800-813-HOPE or visit www.cancercare.org/connect

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