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BCRF Grantee Since


Donor Recognition

The Play for P.I.N.K. Award

Area(s) of Focus

Bruce G. Haffty, MD

Professor and Chairman, Department of Radiation Oncology
UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Associate Director,
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
New Brunswick, New Jersey

Current Research

Dr. Haffty’s laboratory is working to identify new therapeutic strategies to enhance radiation therapy and improve outcomes in women undergoing radiation for breast cancer. They previously reported that a protein called Bcl-2, which has been shown to promote the growth of breast cancer cells, is associated with resistance to radiation therapy. Combining drugs that target Bcl-2 with radiation significantly enhanced the effectiveness of radiation in laboratory models of breast cancer. They have completed these studies and published their findings demonstrating one mechanism through which radiation and BCL-2 inhibitors work together against breast cancer by enhancing a process of tumor cell death called apoptosis. In the past year they have been exploring a drug that targets another cell death pathway called TRAIL. Preliminary work indicates the combination of radiation and TRAIL targeting may be effective against triple negative breast cancers. In ongoing collaborations with BCRF colleague, Yibin Kang at Princeton, Dr. Haffty is investigating how radiation to the tissue around the tumor (stroma) affects the tumor response to radiation. Preliminary experiments indicate that targeting molecular pathways in the stroma, as opposed to the tumor itself, may improve responsiveness of radiation. This novel area of investigation can help to improve breast tumor response to radiation, by optimizing conditions to enhance radiation effects from the normal tissue around the tumor.


Bruce G. Haffty, MD is Professor and Chairman, Department of Radiation Oncology, Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and New Jersey Medical School and Associate Director, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. His medical school training, internship, residency and chief residency was at Yale.  Dr. Haffty was a Professor of Yale’s Department of Therapeutic Radiology, served as residency program director from 1992-2004, and Vice Chairman and Clinical Director from 2002-2005. He moved to the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Cancer Institute of New Jersey in 2005.

Dr. Haffty’s clinical area of expertise is breast cancer, and he has focused on outcomes and prognostic factors women undergoing radiation therapy, evaluating novel molecular markers and potential targets, for which he has had many research grants and conducted numerous clinical and translational research programs. He has published over 300 peer-reviewed articles and 30 book chapters. He is consistently listed as one of the country’s leading physicians by Best Doctors in America and Top Doctors in New York and New Jersey.  In addition to a busy clinical practice, Dr. Haffty has served on numerous national committees related to research and education in breast cancer and radiation oncology. He is currently an Associate Editor of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Dr. Haffty is a Past President of the American Board of Radiology and the American Radium Society, past Chairman of the Residency Review Committee in Radiation Oncology, and the current President and incoming Chairman of the Board of the American Society for Radiation Oncology.