Associate Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Drs. Matulonis, Berkowitz 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.
Ursula A. Matulonis, MD, is Medical Director and Disease Center Leader of the Medical Gynecologic Oncology Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Her research focuses on developing new targeted therapies for gynecologic malignancies, with an interest in the genetic changes in ovarian cancer that can lead to rationale drug development and selection.
Dr. Matulonis is Principal Investigator (PI) of several clinical trials and translational studies for ovarian cancer. She is the PI of a Department of Defense grant on ovarian cancer entitled "Prediction of Response to Therapy and Clinical Outcome Through a Pilot Study of Complete Genetic Assessment of Ovarian Cancer" and a Co-PI on the project "Genetic similarities between serous ovarian cancer and triple negative breast cancer" funded by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Dr. Matulonis is the overall PI on a Program Project Grant funded by the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation (OCRF) entitled "Rational combinations of novel biologic agents for ovarian cancer therapy" that was awarded in January 2014. Dr. Matulonis serves on the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Recommendation and Guideline committee for ovarian cancer and for the treatment of anemia, the Gynecologic Oncology Group ovarian committee, the National Cancer Institute Ovarian Cancer Task Force, the Scientific Advisory Board of OCRF, the editorial board of Gynecologic Oncology, and is Medical Director and Board Member for the non-profit organization Ovations for the Cure. She is a recipient of the Dennis Thompson Compassionate Care Scholar award, the Lee M. Nadler "Extra Mile" Award, the Zakim Award for patient advocacy, and the Susan Love Award from the Fenway Health Clinic.
After receiving her MD from Albany Medical College, she completed an internship and residency at the University of Pittsburgh, followed by a medical oncology fellowship at Dana-Farber.