Faculty Summaries
Mary B Daly, MD, PhD
Mary B. Daly, MD, PhD
  • Chair, Department of Clinical Genetics
  • Timothy R. Talbot Jr. Chair for Cancer Research
  • Department of Clinical Genetics

    The Risk Assessment Program at Fox Chase looks at your personal and possible inherited genetic factors that may put you at higher possibility for getting cancer. We comprehensively examine your profile for all cancer types, including — but not limited to — breast cancer, ovarian cancer, gastrointestinal cancers, prostate cancer, and melanoma. Knowing your risk helps you learn what you can do to lower your chances of getting cancer.

    The Department of Clinical Genetics is built on the success of Fox Chase's Margaret Dyson Family Risk Assessment Program (now Risk Assessment Program), which Dr. Mary Daly began in 1991. A high-risk screening clinic was developed for individuals with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer. In addition to the clinic, genetic counseling was provided for both high risk and breast and ovarian cancer patients. As the clinic developed, it became clear that it was important to provide consultations for biopsy findings that put women at increased risk. Since then, Fox Chase has expanded risk assessment services to those at high risk for all cancers.

    Building the Profile

    A combination of your family history and your genetic data is used to build a profile of your risk for all cancer types, including — but not limited to — breast, ovarian, uterine, gastrointestinal (including colon), prostate, thyroid, and melanoma.


    The Department of Clinical Genetics is closely aligned with ongoing research initiatives including Fox Chase's Cancer Prevention and Control Program.

  • Research Opportunities

    RAP Registry (Risk Assessment Program Registry)

    This is a research study for people who have a higher than average risk of cancer. Participants are asked to fill out a Health History Questionnaire and donate a blood sample (and possibly, stored tissue). This data and biospecimens are then available for research projects by interested investigators.

    Coriell Personalized Medicine Collaborative (CPMC): Fox Chase Cancer Center Cohort

    This is a research opportunity that will give individuals personal information about their genes to determine how the information is used in medical care and decision making. A saliva sample and completion of online questionnaires are required.

    Philadelphia Breast Cancer Family Registry (PBCFR)  

    The Philadelphia Breast Cancer Family Registry (PBCFR) is one of six international sites of the Breast Cancer Family Registry (BCFR) funded by the National Cancer Institute. The sites have collaborated over the past 17 years to establish a research resource for use by the scientific community. Health and family history information, blood samples and pathology information are collected from eligible participants and their family members.

    Improving the Estimation and Communication of Ovarian Cancer Risk among BRCA1/2 and Lynch Syndrome Carriers to Optimize Decision Making [Ovarian SPORE]   

    This is a research opportunity for women who have tested positive for a gene mutation which increases their risk for ovarian cancer.  The purpose of this research study is to test the impact of some decision support materials we have developed to help women consider ways to reduce their risk for ovarian cancer. These materials contain information about genetic and other risk factors for ovarian cancer and options for reducing ovarian cancer risk, especially the surgical removal of the ovaries before cancer can develop. We want to determine if these materials are helpful to women faced with these decisions.  

    Translation of Genomics into Improvements in Cancer Prevention and Treatment

    The goal of this study, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, is to help us understand how information about a person’s family history of cancer can help someone know more about their risk of cancer, and their cancer prevention options. This study is for a relative of breast or colon cancer patients diagnosed in the past 12 months. The study compares risk estimates based on family history alone with those using both family history and a numeric estimate of risk.  Outcomes include understanding of cancer risk and prevention behaviors. The information from this study may help researchers improve how cancer risk estimates are given to relatives of cancer patients.

    COGENT (Communicating Genetic Test Results by Telephone)

    COGENT will evaluate patient interest in, needs, preferences and expectations of telephone disclosure of clinical BRCA1/2 test results.  We are interviewing both participants who have received their genetic test results in person and individuals waiting to receive their genetic test results in person to capture this information.

    LEGACY (A cohort of youth in families from the Breast Cancer Family Registry)

    LEGACY enrolls 6 to 13 year old girls and their mothers to study how lifestyle, environmental and biological factors affect growth and development of young girls and adolescents. Five Breast Cancer Family Registry sites will enroll 900 girls, half from families with breast cancer histories (BCFR) and half without (friend cohort). The girls will be followed every six months over a 5-year period starting in July 2011 for blood, urine and anthropometric measurements and epidemiological, behavioral and family history data collection.

    Novel markers study

    This is a collaborative study with the Pacific Ovarian Cancer Research Consortium hoping to identify new serum markers for early detection of ovarian cancer.  Women who are BRCA positive or who have a strong family history of ovarian and breast cancer are eligible.  They must be a member of RAP or be seen in the RAP clinic prior to enrollment.  Women who have undergone oophorectomy are ineligible.  Participants will be asked to come in to FCCC and donate a sample of blood on a routine basis, at least every six months, and more frequently, depending on test results.  Participants and their physicians will receive their test results with recommended followup. Participants will also be asked to complete questionnaires.