User Profile


Bernard Friedenson
Research Interests:
Hereditary cancer
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, College of Medicine, University of Illinois Chicago, Chicago, IL
About BernardFriedenson:
Bernard Friedenson is a past recipient of an NIH Research Career Development Award. After a B.A. in honors chemistry-mathematics at the University of Minnesota Duluth and a PhD in biochemistry-organic chemistry at the University of Minnesota, he did post-doctoral work at Roswell Park Memorial Institute, where he rose to senior cancer research scientist. In his current position at UIC, he acquired 13 years further training in medical sciences while still publishing over 50 papers. In 2011, he received an Innocentive award for providing the only solution from among nearly 400 competing entries to establish biomarkers that can be used to guide cancer treatment. This award was used to fund his research to prevent hereditary cancer.
Friedenson has been working to understand how inherited gene mutations seem to target specific organs for cancer. Mutations in genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 cause such high risks for breast and ovarian cancer that methods to prevent these cancers have not been thoroughly studied. One way such inherited cancer gene mutations target specific tissues for cancer may be to increase susceptibility when a tissue is exposed to carcinogens. In several recent publications Friedenson showed that carriers of mutations in pathways containing BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes (“breast cancer genes”) have increased cancer susceptibility to chronic inflammatory infections. Some sites for hereditary cancer were determined not by the gene mutation, but by infections such as hepatitis B that target specific organs for cancer. Specific carcinogens in the environment are other ways of selectively targeting some organs for cancer because the inherited defects in BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes create opportunistic carcinogens. Opportunistic carcinogens are able to take advantage of inherited BRCA1/2 gene mutations and increase risks for exposed organs. Identifying these opportunistic carcinogens should help prevent or delay some hereditary cancers and may enable mutation carriers to begin to compensate for their genetic deficit.
These results all build on Friedenson’s previous findings that carriers of BRCA1/2 pathway mutations have increased cancer risks in the hematopoietic system and in multiple organs so their mutations increase cancer risks in organs beyond breasts and ovaries. Communications published in the New England Journal of Medicine and in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute laid a foundation for his recent work. Friedenson’s 2009 article (J. Natl Cancer Inst.) points out the importance of proper random sampling methods in the cancer statistics needed for research.
Friedenson B., 2011. Inherited mutations impair responses to environmental carcinogens: Cancer prevention in mutation carriers. Nature Precedings <> (2011)
Friedenson B., 2011. Mutations in pathways depending on BRCA1 and BRCA2 may increase cancer risks from an environmental carcinogen" Nature Precedings
Friedenson B., 2010. A theory that explains the tissue specificity of BRCA1/2 related and other hereditary cancers. J. Med. Med. Sci. 1(8): 372-384
Friedenson B., 2010. Inflammatory processes inordinately increase tissue specific cancer risks in carriers of mutations in BRCA1, BRCA2, ATM or Fanconi anemia genes. J. Med. Med. Sci. 1(8): 356-371
Friedenson B. 2010. BRCA1/2 Pathway Mutations Amplify cancer risks associated witih inflammation in Specific Organs. BIT’s 3rd World Cancer Congress, Breast Cancer Conference 2010 p.95.
Friedenson B. 2010. Inflammation targets specific organs for cancer in carriers of BRCA1/2 pathway mutations. Nature Precedings.
Friedenson B., 2009. The organ that develops BRCA1/2 related cancer is determined by inflammatory infections. Interpreting the Human Genome Short Reports; 20:p22-24.
Friedenson B., 2007. Should the Status of the Pathway Mediated by BRCA1 and BRCA2 be Evaluated Before Selecting Cancer Chemotherapy Drugs? Current Pharmacogenomics Volume 5 No.4 December 2007.
History of Education and Employment
Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. College of Medicine, University of Illinois Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (current)
Researcher / Instructor University of Illinois Chicago, College of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Chicago, Illinois
Senior Cancer Research Scientist, Roswell Park Memorial Institute, Buffalo, New York
Rose to this position from post-doctoral