You are here

BCRF Grantee Since

2011

Donor Recognition

The Arlene Bevilacqua Award

Area(s) of Focus

Alan D'Andrea , MD

Alvan T. and Viola D. Fuller American Cancer Society Professor of Radiation Oncology
Scientific Director, Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, DFCI
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA

Current Research

Dr. D'Andrea's laboratory has determined that a novel combination of drugs (i.e. the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib plus the PARP inhibitor veliparib) is especially useful in the treatment of triple negative breast cancers. This combination is considerably more potent than either drug given alone. His team is testing this combination of drugs in laboratory models which have been implanted with patient-derived tumors. Importantly, they have recently identified biomarkers which allow them to rapidly determine whether or not these models are responding to this drug combination. Dr. D'Andrea and colleagues are optimizing these biomarkers in the laboratory models. They predict that these biomarkers will allow them to quickly determine whether or not the tumor is responding to the drug therapy. The rapid biomarkers should correlate with the regression (shrinkage) of the tumor, which may otherwise occur over several weeks. Once optimized, Dr. D'Andrea's team will use these biomarkers on tumor samples taken directly from women with breast cancer enrolled in their clinical trials. In short, these biomarkers will allow the researchers to rapidly determine whether the drug is reaching the tumor mass and whether the tumor is responding.

Mid-Year Summary

Dr. D’Andrea’s team has now established model colonies bearing triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) tumors derived from 15 human breast cancer patients, ranging in age from 40 to 88 years. They are also examining the activity of more conventional chemotherapy (ie, cisplatin and etoposide therapy) on the TNBC laboratory models, as a direct comparison to their novel combination therapy. They have also recently identified biomarkers which allow them to rapidly determine whether or not these tumor xenografts are responding to this drug combination. The researchers are optimizing these biomarkers in the laboratory models. They predict that these biomarkers will allow them to quickly determine whether or not the tumor is responding to the drug therapy. Therefore, the rapid biomarkers should correlate with the regression (shrinkage) of the tumor, which may otherwise occur over several weeks. Once optimized, they will use these biomarkers on tumor samples taken directly from women with breast cancer enrolled in their clinical trials. In short, these biomarkers will allow the researchers to rapidly determine whether the drug is reaching the tumor mass and whether the tumor is responding.

Bio

A graduate of Harvard College, Dr. Alan D’Andrea received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1983. He completed his residency in Pediatrics at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and a fellowship in pediatric hematology-oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) and Children's Hospital, Boston. Dr. D’Andrea also completed a research fellowship at the Whitehead Institute of Biomedical Research at MIT where he cloned the receptor for erythropoietin while working in the laboratory of Dr. Harvey Lodish. Dr. D’Andrea joined the staff at DFCI in 1990. His research is focused on the molecular cause of human leukemia and breast cancer. He also investigates the pathogenesis of Fanconi anemia, a human genetic disease characterized by bone marrow failure and Acute Myeloid Leukemia in children.

Dr. D’Andrea is internationally known for his research in the area of DNA damage and DNA repair. He is currently the Fuller-American Cancer Society Professor of Radiation Oncology at Harvard Medical School and the Chief of the Division of Genomic Stability and DNA Repair at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. A recipient of numerous academic awards, Dr. D’Andrea is a former Stohlman Scholar of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and has previously served on their Medical and Scientific Advisory Board. He is a member of the Career Development Selection Committee of the LLS. Dr. D’Andrea is the recipient of the 2001 E. Mead Johnson Award, the highest award in Pediatric Research, and is a Distinguished Clinical Investigator of the Doris Duke Charitable Trust.