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Profiles

Dr. Laura van ’t Veer

Molecular biologist

Dutch molecular biologist Dr. Laura van ’t Veer is a pioneer in the field of personalized medicine and one of the world’s leading innovators in cancer diagnostics. She is the leader of the Breast Oncology Program and Director of Applied Genomics at the University of California San Francisco, and her work is having a major impact on the field, for which she has received many awards, including the European Inventor Award in 2015.

She was listed by 24/7 Wall Street as one of the 32 Amazing Women Inventors who have succeeded in fields dominated by men.

Dr. van ’t Veer is the inventor of MammaPrint, a gene-based test that predicts the chances of recurrence in early-stage breast cancer patients, sparing women who will derive little or no benefit from chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy is often recommended after surgery to decrease the risk of cancer recurrence. Yet, the side effects of chemotherapy are harsh, and, as Dr. van ’t Veer’s work shows, it might not be needed for every patient. In fact, her studies show that 46 percent of patients with early stage breast cancer who are recommended chemotherapy can safely forego chemotherapy.

Instead of one treatment for all, Dr. van ’t Veer’s revolutionary work is paving the way to change treatment approaches to target a person’s specific tumor. Her goal is to increase each person’s chance of surviving breast cancer using this individualized approach.

Read her full profile.