Teresa A. Gilewski, MD
2012-2013 BCRF Project:
Breast Cancer Medicine Services
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York
Co-Investigator: Govind Ragupathi, PhD
, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York
(The Weschester Women's Award)
Over the last year, Drs. Gilewski and Ragupathi have gained experience with the FDA approved Veridex, LLC CellSearch assay for detecting circulating tumor cells (CTC) in patients with a history of metastatic breast cancer and minimal disease. Circulating tumor cells were detected in only occasional patients. A new CTC assay has been developed at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center although it has not yet been used in breast cancer patients. However, in prostate cancer patients the new assay has shown greater sensitivity in detecting CTC than the currently used CellSearch assay and correlates with clinical outcome. Drs. Gilewski and Ragupathi will work with the new assay and assess its potential use for breast cancer patients.
In addition, this research team has prepared a clinical protocol to evaluate a new vaccine, which they developed with BCRF support, which targets six breast cancer antigens. In the coming year, they will assess the safety of the vaccine and its ability to stimulate an immune response. In addition, the impact of the vaccine on the number of CTCs will be measured by the two assays mentioned above.
Mid-year Progress: Drs. Gilewski and Ragupathi have made additional revisions to the protocol and are in the process of submission for approval. The protocol will assess a vaccine in patients with active metastatic breast cancer either alone or in combination with chemotherapy. The aim of the protocol is to evaluate for side effects, immune response and impact on circulating tumor cells (CTC) and clinical disease. Drs. Gilewski and Ragupathi are also performing further studies to evaluate the combination of chemotherapy with immunotherapy in laboratory models.
Dr. Teresa Gilewski is a medical oncologist on the Breast Cancer Service, Department of Medicine, at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Gilewski received a BS from Gannon University and a MD from Hahnemann University as part of a six-year combined BS/MD program. She then completed training in internal medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital followed by a fellowship in hematology/oncology at the University of Chicago.
Her current focus of research is the development of vaccines for patients with breast cancer at high risk of recurrence. In collaboration with colleagues from the immunology service, she has conducted clinical trials in patients with locally advanced or recurrent breast cancer. Several ongoing studies will evaluate different types of vaccines.
Dr. Gilewski also created the Art of Medicine lecture series at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. This program focuses on the humanistic aspect of medicine. She directed, produced and wrote two films: Reflections on Illness - an Interview with Dr. Alan Houghton and Living Through and Beyond Breast Cancer. She developed a film on The Physician as the Patient that was shown at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in 2007. She is currently developing other films dealing with the humanistic aspects of breast cancer treatment.