William H. Baker Professor of Gynecology
Chief of Gynecologic Surgery
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Drs. Berkowitz, Matulonis and Wang have joined forces to study the common genetic features of breast and ovarian cancers. The Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s team is using information from collaborative clinical trials, publicly available data from researchers from around the world and emerging technologies to accelerate progress and leverage discoveries made in one disease to benefit the other. The team is credited with showing that the accumulation of genetic mutations in breast and ovarian cancers influences how the tumors respond to treatment. They are using this information to better understand drug resistance and to identify new biomarkers and therapeutic targets. Work in the coming year will focus on analyzing the amount and types of mutations to determine if a specific mutation “signature” can be used to predict response to two types of drugs that may be particularly useful in certain breast and ovarian cancers; platinum-based drugs, such as cisplatin, and PARP inhibitors, a newer class of drugs that inhibit the ability of cells to repair damaged genes and DNA. These innovative studies are incredibly important in advancing our understanding of drug resistance and will lead to better treatment strategies for many aggressive cancers.
Ross Berkowitz, MD is the William H. Baker Professor of Gynecology at Harvard Medical School and the Director of Gynecology and Gynecologic Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital. In addition, he is also the Co-Director of the Women's Cancers Program at Dana-Farber and the Director of the Gynecologic Cancer Program at Dana-Farber/Partners Cancercare and Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center.
During the past twenty years, the focus of his research has been in the areas of gestational trophoblastic disease and ovarian neoplasia. Investigations in gestational trophoblastic disease have dealt with identifying risk factors for development of these tumors as well as advancing understanding of the natural history of these diseases including subsequent reproductive experience. His research in ovarian neoplasia has concerned both the development of innovative and novel therapies as well as molecular biologic studies to identify genetic changes in ovarian neoplasia and differences in the pathways of development of borderline ovarian tumors, invasive ovarian cancers, and peritoneal cancers.
Dr. Berkowitz earned his MD from Boston University and had his residency training in surgery at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and then in obstetrics and gynecology at the Boston Hospital for Women. He completed his fellowship in gynecologic oncology at the Boston Hospital for Women and joined the faculty at Brigham and Women's Hospital thereafter.