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BCRF Grantee Since

2002

Donor Recognition

The Smart Circle/RGS Labs International Award

Area(s) of Focus

Lajos Pusztai, MD, D.Phil

Professor of Medicine
Chief, Breast Medical Oncology
Co-Director, Yale Cancer Center Genetics and Genomics Program
Yale School of Medicine New Haven, Connecticut
Member, BCRF Scientific Advisory Board

Current Research

Breast cancer is a very heterogeneous disease. Analyses of tumor tissue obtained from the same primary breast cancer have revealed a diverse collection of cells that often harbor different mutations, a characteristic referred to as intra-tumor heterogeneity. Work by Dr. Pusztai and colleagues has shown that aggressive ER-negative cancers have more intra-tumor heterogeneity than low-grade, ER-positive breast cancers. Interestingly, ER-negative breast cancers that were more sensitive to chemotherapy had a greater degree of genetic diversity than those that were drug resistant. In the next phase of his BCRF research, Dr. Pusztai will test the functional role of tumor heterogeneity in a laboratory setting to determine if genetically different tumor cells interact with one another to cause new tumor behavior and whether genetic diversity could be used to predict resistance to chemotherapy.

Bio

Dr Pusztai is Professor of Medicine at Yale University and Chief of the Breast Medical Oncology Section at the Yale Cancer Center. He is also Co-Director of the Cancer Center Genomics and Genetics Program. Dr. Pusztai received his medical degree from the Semmelweis University of Medicine in Budapest, and his D.Phil. degree from the University of Oxford in England. His research group has made important contributions to establish that estrogen receptor-positive and-negative breast cancers have fundamentally different molecular, clinical and epidemiological risk characteristics. He has been a pioneer in evaluating gene expression profiling as a diagnostic technology to predict chemotherapy and endocrine therapy sensitivity and have shown that different biological processes are involved in determining the prognosis and treatment response in different breast cancer subtypes. His group has also developed new bioinformatics tools to integrate information from across different data platforms in order to define the molecular pathways that are significantly disturbed in individual cancers and could provide the bases for future individualized treatment strategies. He made important contributions to clarify the clinical value of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in different breast cancer subtypes.

Dr Pusztai is also principal investigator of several clinical trials investigating new drugs and potential response markers. He has published over 200 manuscripts in high impact medical journals and is the Clinical Editor of the British Journal of Cancer, Member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Member of the Breast Cancer Steering Committee of the NCI and Co-Chair of the Trans-ALTTO Committee that oversees the translational research projects of tissues collected during two larger randomized clinical trials (ALTTO and NeoALTTO). He is also Chair of the Data Safety Monitoring Committee of the OPTIMA trial.