Anne E. Dyson Professor of Women's Cancers and Surgery
Harvard Medical School
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Drs. Iglehart, Richardson and Wang are part of an interdisciplinary collaborative group which includes other BCRF investigators, focused on the genetics of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). Their collective work led to the identification of a number of different tumor biomarkers that can predict whether a woman’s tumor will respond to a drug called cisplatin, which belongs to a class of drugs referred to as DNA damaging agents. These biomarkers can be measured by doing different types of genomic testing of a woman’s breast cancer tissue. The research team recently discovered that high levels of a gene called BLM enhances the tumor killing effect of cisplatin and in the coming year they will work to understand how BLM is affecting cisplatin response. In addition, the researchers recently found that the number of mutations in a tumor is predictive of survival in women with ovarian cancer: the higher the number of mutations, the better the cancer responds to cisplatin treatment and the longer the woman survives. They will now test to see whether the same may be true for women with breast cancer. These studies will lead to a better understanding of the mutational processes that promote to cancer development and how the burden of mutation may predict for patient outcomes.
Dirk Iglehart is Anne E. Dyson Professor of Women's Cancers and Surgery, at Brigham and Women's Hospital/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School. After graduation from Harvard Medical School, he went on to do his surgical residency at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. In 1999, he was recruited to Harvard Medical School where he maintains both an active clinical practice as well as a laboratory which studies the fundamental issues of breast cancer. In October of 2000, Dr. Iglehart became the Director of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in breast cancer. SPOREs are large National Cancer Institute program project grants which emphasize translational or bench-to-bedside research.