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David Rimm, MD, PhD

Professor, Department of Pathology
Director, Pathology Tissue Services
Director, Translational Science in Pathology
Yale School of Medicine
New Haven, Connecticut

Current Research

Goal: To refine methods to predict tumor response to available treatments.

Impact: Dr. Rimm has discovered that an inexpensive test can identify patients who need chemotherapy and those that can avoid it. His team has standardized this test and shown it to be an accurate predictor of response to chemotherapy.  

What’s next: He will continue his work on the potential predictive value of the assay. In addition, his team will expand their investigations to identify novel strategies that can be used to determine which patients with triple-negative breast cancer are most likely to benefit from immunotherapy.

Chemotherapy can reduce the risk of recurrence of breast cancer, but not every patient needs chemotherapy. Clinicians face a similar challenge in determining which patients will benefit from new immunotherapy drugs. Dr. Rimm is studying methods that could match the right drug to the right patient so fewer people will be exposed to unnecessary additional treatments.

Full Research Summary

Research area: Assessing diagnostic tests that would help clinicians match breast cancer patients with the best treatment for their breast cancer. 

Impact: Breast cancer is not a single disease but an array of many different diseases. Thus, they do not respond the same to drugs used to treat them. Dr. Rimm is conducting developing tests that will help clinicians and patients in making treatment decisions. In the next few years, Dr. Rimm and his team hope that these assays can be used in the clinic to match patients with the optimum treatment for their breast cancer and improve treatment outcomes. 

Current investigation: He and his team are working on improving diagnostic tests that increase the sensitivity and specificity for selecting the right drugs for breast cancer patients. 

What he’s accomplished so far: Dr. Rimm and his team have discovered that an inexpensive test that meassures the presence of a proliferation marker called Ki67 on tumor biopsies can identify which patients need chemotherapy and which can avoid it. While this test has been around for a long time, his team realized that standardization and quantification of this test may provide information that is comparable to the 21-gene recurrence score using the Oncotype DX™ test but at less than one-tenth of the cost. 

What’s next: Dr. Rimm will continue to standardize and validate the Ki67 proliferation assay across multiple tumor sites. In addition, his team will assess other prognostic and predictive tests, including TIL (Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocyte) scores for breast cancer, which are a predictor of response to immunotherapy drugs; and standardize the PD-L1 assay—the key assay for selection of breast cancer patients for immunotherapy.


Dr. David Rimm is a Professor in the Department of Pathology at the Yale University School of Medicine with a secondary appointment in Medicine (Oncology). He completed an MD-PhD at Johns Hopkins University Medical School followed by a Pathology Residency at Yale and a Cytopathology Fellowship at the Medical College of Virginia. His lab group focuses on quantitative pathology using the AQUA® technology invented in his lab with projects related to predicting response to therapy, recurrence or metastasis in breast cancer. He is a member of a number of correlative science committees for multi-institutional breast cancer clinical trials including SWOG, ALLTO, and TEACH. He also serves on the Molecular Oncology committee for the College of American Pathologists. He is an author of over 280 peer-reviewed papers and 8 patents. He has served on advisory boards for Genentech, Novaritis, BMS, Perkin Elmer, Dako, ACD, Avida , OptraScan, Metamark Genetics and Genoptix.

Researcher Headshot - Rimm David

BCRF Investigator Since


Area(s) of Focus