Professor Ephrat Levy-Lahad, Director of the Fuld Department of Medical Genetics at Shaare Zedek was one of only two doctors to be named in the list compiled by the Jerusalem Post, and it is not hard to understand why. Her ground-breaking research in to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 cancer genes is changing medical thinking and saving lives.
BRCA1 and BRCA2 are cancer genes that we are all born with. They normally help protect cells from cancerous changes. However in some people a gene mutation occurs and cancer develops. BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations account for 11% of breast cancer and 40% of ovarian cancer in Ashkenazi women, but until now women have not been screened for breast or ovarian cancer unless there is a family history of the disease. Thanks to the research carried out by Professor Levy-Lahad this is set to change.
Her study unequivocally recommends that all Ashkenazi women be tested for the common mutations in these genes even if there is no history of breast cancer in the family and they don’t show signs of the illness.
“We should be testing women who are still healthy at a stage when we can prevent the disease,” Dr. Ephrat Levy-Lahad
Professor Levy-Lahad has dedicated her life to the study of genetics of adult diseases, particularly cancer and Alzheimer’s.