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BCRF Grantee Since


Area(s) of Focus

Joseph A. Sparano, MD

Professor, Department of Medicine
Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Bronx, New York

Current Research

Co-Investigators: Robert L. Comis, MD, Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups, Philadelphia, PA and Kathy D. Miller, MD, Indiananopolis University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN

The Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups oversees the Breast Cancer Late Relapse Biorepository, which was established in 2013 to store and catalogue biospecimens that will be collected over the next several years from women who have survived early-stage breast cancer and who had previously participated in two large cooperative group cancer treatment trials, TAILORx and E5103. The biorepository will contain primary and metastatic tumor specimens, blood specimens, and germline DNA, for example. More than 15,000 women participated in these two trials. Researchers in the CCCG will study the biospecimen collection to determine whether there are genetic differences that put women at risk for a recurrence of the disease later in their lives. Such a finding could lead to the discovery of other new drugs and treatments for patients with breast cancer in the future. In addition, the biorepository will be made available to researchers in the cooperative groups and across the scientific community.

BCRF supports offsets the costs associated with study coordinators to identify potentially eligible patients and notify the local sites where they received their treatment on a monthly basis; sites to present the sub-study and obtain consent; biospecimen distributor to ship biospecimen collection kits to the sites of consented patients; sites to collect the biospecimens and ship the samples to the central biorepository; laboratory coordination; and program management for these activities.

Mid-Year Summary

The Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups is overseeing the establishment of a “late-relapse biorepository,” the objective of which is to create a plasma, serum and tissue bank for evaluating determinants of late relapse of operable breast cancer. As of January 15, 2014, the effort has increased in momentum and the volume of activity has been significant. Over 700 patients have contributed more than 2400 biospecimens. Nearly 2000 biospecimen collection kits have been shipped to participating sites in preparation for the additional numbers of patients that will join the study in the coming months.


Dr. Joseph Sparano is Professor of Medicine and Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Women's Health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Associate Chairman of the Department of Oncology at Montefiore Medical Center. He currently serves as the faculty supervisor of the Einstein Cancer Center Clinical Trials Office, and leads the Einstein Breast Cancer Working Group, a multidisciplinary group of physicians and scientists focused on translational breast cancer research. Other positions include Associate Chair for Disease Oriented Research in the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG), Vice Chair of the AIDS Malignancy Consortium (AMC), and Chair of the ECOG Breast Cancer Committee. He is a member of the several National Cancer Institute (NCI) scientific committees, including the Breast Cancer Steering Committee, and co-chair of the Breast Cancer Correlative Science Committee. He is principal investigator of a U10 grant funding Einstein as a main member institution of ECOG, and directs the New York Cancer Consortium. He is a former director of the Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Program at Albert Einstein/Montefiore, and is the founder and program director for the ECOG Young Investigator Symposium; this meeting is held annually at the fall ECOG meeting since 2001, and is designed to introduce trainees and junior faculty members to cooperative group research. Dr. Sparano's area of expertise includes phase I-III clinical trials, developmental therapeutics, and clinical application of genomic profiling. He currently serves as the study chair of TAILORx (Trial Assigning Individualized Options for Treatment), the first NCI-sponsored trial integrating a gene expression assay in clinical decision making. He has authored or coauthored approximately 200 original articles, reviews, chapters, and editorials.