Bruce G. Haffty, MD, FACR, FASTRO, FASCO
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Professor and Chairman, Department of Radiation Oncology
Associate Vice Chancellor Cancer Programs
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Improving the effectiveness of radiation for breast cancer treatment.
Radiation is employed in a majority of breast cancer patients as at least one component of their therapeutic regimen. However, resistance, recurrence, and toxicity pose significant challenges for some patients. Dr. Haffty and his team are conducting a series of studies including laboratory explorations of the biology driving radiation resistance; translational studies evaluating genetic correlates with recurrence, toxicity, and outcomes; and a clinical trial testing short course radiation before surgery. All are done with the goal of improving outcomes in breast cancer patients undergoing radiation.
For their translational study, Dr. Haffty’s team is nearing completion of their robust database of approximately 1,000 patients who were treated with radiation therapy. Ultimately, the data will include 10 years of clinical follow-up information, patient demographics, and sequencing data for over 6,000 genes from patient blood. This collection of data could lead to new insights on the origins of radiation response and toxicity. In the last year, the team also launched a new clinical trial which applies a short course of radiation, where the boost of radiation is delivered before surgery, to see if this improves patient outcomes. This trial has exceeded accrual expectations, with over half of the goal number of patients accrued to date.
Using the 1,000-patient database, the team’s initial analysis will look for patterns between genetic alterations in several DNA repair genes—which could contribute to radiation resistance—with patient outcomes. Their findings could point to potential radiation response biomarkers, or therapeutic targets for combination therapies with radiation. In addition, their laboratory studies will continue evaluating how radiation resistance occurs.
If not for BCRF, we could never have launched our novel clinical trial employing a component of radiation prior to surgery in early-stage breast cancer.
Bruce G. Haffty, MD is Professor and Chairman, Department of Radiation Oncology, Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and New Jersey Medical School and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Associate Vice Chancellor for Cancer Programs at Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences. His medical school training, internship, residency and chief residency was at Yale. Dr. Haffty was a Professor of Yale’s Department of Therapeutic Radiology, served as residency program director from 1992-2004, and Vice Chairman and Clinical Director from 2002-2005. He moved to the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Cancer Institute of New Jersey in 2005.
Dr. Haffty’s clinical area of expertise is breast cancer, and he has focused on outcomes and prognostic factors women undergoing radiation therapy, evaluating novel molecular markers and potential targets, for which he has had many research grants and conducted numerous clinical and translational research programs. He has published over 400 peer-reviewed articles and 30 book chapters. He is consistently listed as one of the country’s leading physicians by Best Doctors in America and Top Doctors in New York and New Jersey. In addition to a busy clinical practice, Dr. Haffty has served on numerous national committees related to research and education in breast cancer and radiation oncology. He is currently Deputy Editor of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Dr. Haffty is a Past President of the American Board of Radiology and the American Radium Society, past Chairman of the Residency Review Committee in Radiation Oncology, and past President and Chairman of the Board of the American Society for Radiation Oncology. Currently he is Chairman of the Board of RSNA (Radiological Society of North America).
The Tatiana and Peter Cancro Award
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