Aleix Prat, MD, PhD
Head of the Medical Oncology Department, Hospital Clinic Barcelona
Head Translational Genomics and Targeted Therapeutics in Solid Tumors Group,
Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer
Professor and Director, Chair of Innovation in Precision Oncology,
University of Barcelona
Understanding the biological determinants of treatment response to develop personalized treatment approaches for breast cancer.
HER2-positive and triple-negative breast cancers are highly heterogeneous, meaning that the tumors are comprised of cells with distinct molecular characteristics. This makes them very difficult to treat – and thus more aggressive –since all cells do not respond equally to a given treatment. In previous studies, Dr. Prat and his team demonstrated that a cluster of 14 immune-related genes—he calls the “IGG signature score” is highly prognostic in HER2-positive and TNBC disease. This led to the incorporation of these genes into the HER2DX genomic test, developed by Dr. Pratt and colleagues and the first genomic test for predicting outcomes in early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer. In the current study, Dr. Prat’s team is seeking to understand how the IGG signature score influences the tumor- immune environment and response to therapy. He hopes to provide insights into immunological heterogeneity that will enable better prediction of prognosis and improve outcomes for patients with HER2-positive and TNBC.
Dr. Prat will conduct a series of studies to: 1) analyze IGG signature score before and after treatment in a series of HER2-positive and TNBC tumor samples and correlate this with treatment response or survival; 2) determine the geospatial organization of key immune markers within the tumor environment (TME) to understand the dynamics of the TME in response to treatment; and 3) determine if changes in immune cell receptors is associated with the IGG signature, tumor heterogeneity, and response to treatment. Taken together, these efforts will help to create a picture of the immune TME that can be used to identify a new predictive score to guide treatment and improve outcomes in HER2-positive and TNBC.
Aleix Prat, MD, PhD is a medical oncologist and serves as Head of the Medical Oncology Department at the Hospital Clinic Barcelona, Head of Translational Genomics and Targeted Therapeutics in Solid Tumors Group at Institut d’Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer, and Professor and Director, Chair of Innovation in Precision Oncology at the University of Barcelona. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Barcelona and completed an oncology fellowship under the guidance of Dr. Jose Baselga at Hospital Vall d’Hebron where he was a co-investigator in a number of complex phase I-III clinical trials. Subsequently, Dr. Prat was a research associate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (USA) in Dr. Charles Perou’s laboratory and then completed his PhD in Medicine at the University of Barcelona. Upon completion of his postdoctoral studies, Dr. Prat returned to Barcelona as a faculty member and independent laboratory investigator at the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology.
In his current role, Dr. Prat focuses his research on the advancement of precision medicine to optimize treatment regimens for patients. Specifically, he is interested in defining methods to leverage genomic data to guide clinical trial design and biomarker development as well as to determine molecular mechanisms involved in drug sensitivity.
Dr. Prat has authored over 219 peer-reviewed papers and, in 2012, received the International Award for Breast Cancer Research. He has served as a Scientific Coordinator for SOLTI (a Spanish breast cancer cooperative group), a Member of the Executive Committee of The Breast International Group (BIG) and assumed the Presidency of the Board of Directors of SOLTI in May,2019.
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