The world-renowned molecular biologist is the co-inventor of Agendia's MammaPrint breast cancer test, a genetic diagnostic test used for breast cancer patients in order to estimate the risk of recurrence up to 20 years into the future. The use of MammaPrint in patients diagnosed with breast cancer makes it possible to constrain the use of chemotherapy and reduce overtreatment by 30 percent. More than 40,000 women in 34 countries have reaped the benefits of Van’t Veer’s test to date.
The European Patent Office (EPO) nominated Van’t Veer for her pioneering work: she was one of the three finalists for the European Inventor Award 2015 in the SME category. A total of five innovation awards were presented at the end of last week in Palais Brongniart (La Bourse) in Paris, France. The award serves to recognize the fundamental way in which Dr. Van ‘t Veer has changed breast cancer care with her invention, MammaPrint. These radical changes extend to the treatment method used, the patient’s quality of life, and the healthcare costs involved.
The President of the European Patent Office, Benoît Battistelli, commenting on the award during the ceremony: "Van't Veer's work has revolutionized cancer diagnostics by making it possible for treatments to be tailored to the individual needs of each patient. This makes her one of the most outstanding European inventors in the area of individualized medicine."
The genomic test invented by Dr. Van’t Veer provides clinicians with valuable data on women’s breast cancer and the risk of metastasis. Women revealed by the MammaPrint to be at high risk of metastasis may benefit from chemotherapy treatment, but if the risk of recurrence turns out to be low, it is safe to avoid chemotherapy altogether and pursue effective alternative treatment methods instead. MammaPrint® is the fastest-growing, most cost-effective test for determining the risk of recurrence of breast cancer to date and the only test of its kind to be supported by peer-reviewed research data from prospective cohort studies.
Chemotherapy overtreatment can be reduced by 30 percent without endangering patients’ lives
Women who can safely forego chemotherapy also avoid the often-devastating side effects of chemotherapy that can potentially result in permanent damage, such as congestive heart failure or diminished cognitive function. MammaPrint’s ability to identify women with low exposure to the risk of recurrence has eliminated the need for health insurance carriers to cover the high costs of chemotherapy if this is not strictly necessary, driving down the total cost of healthcare as a result.
Van't Veer is currently the Program Leader of the Breast Oncology Program and a Professor of Laboratory Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco and CRO at Agendia. Her current research focuses on the molecular basis for an early response to therapy, in order to effectively manage the development of therapy-specific companion diagnostics.
“We are extremely proud of Dr. Van’t Veer and congratulate her on winning this prestigious international award,” said Agendia CEO Jan Egberts. “This accolade is a testament to the importance of her contribution to breast cancer care for women now and in the future and will help in creating a more prudent healthcare economy. All of us at Agendia are honored to support Dr. Van’t Veer’s extraordinary achievements and to help ensure her progress in the future.”
Source: Agendia NV