Duke doctor named to Time's 100 most influential people list

April 18, 2013 3:04:36 PM PDT
A Duke cancer doctor has joined a list that includes high-profile names like President Obama and Justin Timberlake.

Dr. Kimberly Blackwell's breast cancer research is making her one of time magazine's 100 most influential people this year.

Her work at Duke's Cancer Center has revolutionized the fight against cancer and Time Magazine calls her a pioneer.

"So many women face breast cancer and helping them through that journey that at the end of the day I feel like I've helped someone," said Blackwell.

Helping women fight breast cancer is all in a day's work for Blackwell. When she found out she's one of this year's Time Magazine's top 100 most influential people in the world, she didn't believe it.

"I thought someone was playing a joke on me," she said. "When I sat down to work in the breast cancer field, we had very little treatments and little options."

In the past 18 months three new drugs have been approved to treat an aggressive type of breast cancer. Two of those were developed at Duke.

"We were able to create a drug that links the chemo to the antibody and therefore people don't lose their hair," said Blackwell. "They don't throw up. Their white blood counts don't drop. It's like taking blood pressure medicine."

Blackwell says the new drug is just the tip of the iceberg.

"I would imagine this is opening the door to a whole new generation to the way we treat cancer, not just breast cancer, but every cancer we treat," said Blackwell.

So to be part of revolutionizing the fight against cancer, Time Magazine calls her a hero.

"I hope that my patients and the scientists that worked on this can share in the joy of being on this list," said Blackwell.

A red carpet gala event will be held next week.

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