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Ending Metastatic Breast Cancer for Everyone

Metastatic Breast Cancer Heroes™CURE® Metastatic Breast Cancer Heroes™ 2021 Essay Book
Volume 1

Dr. Nancy U. Lin actors as a mentor for her patients, helping to guide them through the cancer experience, says her colleague Dr. Ines Vaz-Luis.


I FEEL EXTREMELY PLEASED to nominate Dr. Nancy U. Lin for the Metastatic Breast Cancer HeroesTM award 2021. I was privileged to first meet her 10 years ago when I was her mentee as an international fellow in the breast oncology program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She is an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, director of the metastatic breast cancer program and a senior physician at Dana-Farber.

Nancy is a unique clinician. Her patients adore her and she has tremendous clinical skills and the ability to listen and to help patients in their breast cancer journey. She acts very much as a mentor to the people she cares for, guiding them through the often long and difficult cancer road they need to navigate.

In this context, she founded the Ending Metastatic Breast Cancer for Everyone (EMBRACE) program, which combines a strong research program with wraparound clinical services dedicated to women who receive a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis. At this point, over 3,000 patients have participated in the EMBRACE clinical and research program since its inception in 2015.The clinical program provides a structured pathway of care combining extensive patient educational support with coordination within a network of health care providers. EMBRACE also provides access to clinical trials, with almost 2,000 patients who have consented to tumor prescreening for a specific clinical trial so far. In addition, it created a unique research infrastructure including an annotated dataset, over 5,000 research blood samples collected, and 2,434 patients consenting for OncoPanel next-generation tumor sequenc- ing. This resource allowed for a multitude of research projects with unique ability in improving the scientific understanding, which then translates to improvement of care of patients living with metastatic breast cancer.

In addition, Nancy is a champion of research and management of patients with
metastatic breast cancer to the brain. She has led several significant clinical trials that led to Food and Drug Administration approval of new drugs for patients with HER2-positive breast cancer that has spread to the brain. Nancy is now focused on assessing the genomic alterations that occur with the development of breast cancer-related brain and central nervous system metastases.

Nancy’s influence reaches deeply throughout Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and extends to throughout the nation and across the world. As a medical oncologist — and a daughter of someone who died from metastatic breast cancer — I am inspired and thankful for having found Nancy on my path and having her lead my way into my profession.

In summary, I can think of no more deserving individual to receive this award.

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