How Breast Cancer Research and Treatment Has Evolved

"We understand much more what's happening at a molecular level" than we did 15 to 20 years ago.

This article was created in partnership with Pfizer.

It’s a sobering stat: 13% of US women will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. In 2019, Taryn Southern became one of them. She chronicled her treatment journey online, from chemo to surgery and radiation, and antibody infusions to targeted therapies. Some of the latter are relatively new, and had Southern been diagnosed 15 to 20 years ago the treatment options wouldn’t have been as robust. Back then, “if you were diagnosed with breast cancer, everyone was treated the same, given the same chemotherapy,” says Astrid Ruefli-Brasse, Vice President of Tumor Biology, Pfizer Oncology. “But now,” she continues, “because we understand much more what’s happening at a molecular level, we're able to develop therapies that are specific for those molecular changes.”

Southern stopped by Pfizer’s Global Research and Development site in La Jolla, California, to talk about all the medical advancements Ruefli-Brasse’s team of 55 scientists have been working on, and why they’re hopeful about their findings. Southern also speaks with Pfizer Oncology’s Senior Director, Asset Team Leader, Natasha Homji Mishra about the scientific breakthroughs that have helped breast cancer patients with in recent years. This video also features the story and the perspective of mother, artist, and breast cancer survivor Danette Joy Walker.

Watch “Breast Cancer Breakthroughs,” created in partnership with Pfizer, above.