Vered Stearns, MD
Co-Director, Breast Cancer Program
2012-2013 BCRF Project(s):
(made possible by generous support from Estée Lauder)
Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
Associate Professor of Oncology
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Member, BCRF Scientific Advisory Board
Dr. Stearns's team continues to investigate promising interventions for breast cancer prevention using intermediate biomarkers that might predict activity, such as genetic changes in normal-appearing breast tissue. They have completed studies evaluating biomarker modulation following six months of anastrozole therapy or six months of simvastatin and have recently reported their results. Dr. Stearns's team has also made significant progress enrolling 46 women to a clinical trial evaluating the role of the bisphosphonate zoledronic acid, commonly known as a bone-strengthening agent, on markers of breast cancer risk. In the laboratory, the researchers continue to study other promising agents such as a nanoparticle form of curcumin.
In the next year funding period, Dr. Stearns's team will initiate a new study to determine the effectiveness of a new dietary intervention designated POWER, which was recently published by their collaborators in the New England Journal of Medicine. They will determine biomarkers that predict which overweight or obese women with early breast cancer are most likely to lose weight with this intervention and whether they can select biomarkers in blood or in normal-appearing breast tissue that will help identify the women most likely to benefit from the intervention.
Mid-year Progress: The team led by Dr. Stearns has recently completed enrollment to a clinical trial evaluating the role of the bisphosphonate zoledronic acid on markers of breast cancer risk. They also plan to initiate a study evaluating the effects of a dietary intervention on biomarkers in blood and in normal-appearing breast tissue. In the laboratory, they continue to study other promising agents such as a nanoparticle form of curcumin.
Dr. Stearns completed a BS equivalent at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, in Israel in 1989. After relocating to the United States, she completed her medical school training at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, where she received her MD in 1992. Dr. Stearns completed her Internal Medicine residency at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC in 1995. She subsequently completed a Medical Oncology Fellowship at Georgetown University and the Lombardi Cancer Center when she developed interest in translational breast cancer research. Dr. Stearns joined the faculty at the Lombardi Cancer Center at the Georgetown University in 1999, and at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 2001. In 2002, she joined the faculty at the Breast Cancer Research Program at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins. She is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Association for Cancer Research.
Dr. Stearns's long-term research goal is to improve upon current practices by individualizing therapies for breast cancer. While administering standard chemotherapy in the preoperative setting, she examines molecular markers and functional imaging that may assist in early determination of sensitivity or resistance to treatments. The long-term goal is to add novel agents to standard regimens using surrogate markers as endpoints. The work is supported by the prestigious Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Award and by the NCI. Dr. Stearns has also examined surrogate markers that may predict response to treatments that may prevent breast cancer such as tamoxifen and anastrozole.
Dr. Stearns is a member of a large group funded by the NIH/NIGMS to evaluate the role of genetic polymorphism in efficacy and safety to common breast cancer treatments such as tamoxifen. Finally, Dr. Stearns has spent considerable time focusing on improving the quality of life of women who have survived their breast cancer and suffer bothersome hot flashes. Further work focuses on a better understanding of mechanism of action of agents that control hot flashes.