The women scientist advisors committee and the Office of Research on Women's
Health recently presented the Anita B. Roberts Lecture Series: Distinguished Women Scientists at NIH. Featured speaker Dr. Elaine Jaffe, chief of the hematopathology
section and acting chief of the Laboratory of Pathology, NCI, discussed
"The Many Guises and Disguises of Follicular Lymphoma."
"There are approximately 40 different types of diseases derived from lymphocytes,
i.e., 'lymphomas,'" said Jaffe. "Our studies are aimed at better defining lymphoma types as a first step in identifying their origin or pathogenesis." Jaffe has described in situ follicular lymphoma, a stage in the evolution of follicular lymphoma that helps unravel the earliest causal events.
"Today we think of tumors as a multi-step evolution, where in a single patient an accumulation of genetic 'hits' [mutations, deletions] take place over time," she said. "Follicular lymphomas frequently progress, and the diverse patterns of disease progression help us to understand not only follicular lymphoma, but also other lymphoma types." Also of great relevance in follicular lymphoma is the effect of the patient's immune system, which plays a role in determining how aggressive the tumor will be. Jaffe's work stresses the clinical implications of diagnoses, emphasizing the role of pathologists as clinical consultants.
The lecture series is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Anita B. Roberts, who was chief of the NCI Laboratory of Cell Regulation and Carcinogenesis. She was regarded as an exceptional mentor and scientist. The lecture series will continue
to highlight the research of other top women scientists at NIH who promote Roberts's legacy .—