Hoatlin:Our Best Doctors

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A disorder affecting few with the potential to help us all.

You may not be familiar with Fanconi anemia, a rare genetic disorder, but you've no doubt heard of leukemia and other cancers, diseases to which Fanconi patients are particularly susceptible. Because of this cancer connection, the genetic material of Fanconi patients may well hold the key to what bodily processes increase cancer risk in the population at-large, which is what makes the work of Dr. Hoatlin, an OHSU researcher, so fascinating. Working with Dr. Markus Grompe, Hoatlin isolated a protein that, when improperly made, inhibits the body's ability to repair flawed DNA, a failure that increases the cancer risk of Fanconi patients. Because of her work and that of her colleagues, the elusive cancer-susceptibility pathway is slowly being identified.