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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
Goal: To identify ways of determining which breast cancer patients are at higher risk of recurrence.
Impact: Dr. Rimm has discovered that an inexpensive test (Ki67) could help determine which patients need chemotherapy and which can avoid it.
What’s next: He will continue his work on the potential use of Ki67, as well as investigate novel strategies that may identify patients with triple negative breast cancer who are most likely to benefit from immunotherapy.
Chemotherapy can reduce the risk of recurrence of breast cancer, but there is no way to tell whether it’s the right treatment for each individual patient. Thus, some may be over-treated. Scientists 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: Generating diagnostic tests that would help doctors select the right drugs for the right patients.
Impact: While several FDA-approved targeted therapies are available for patients with HER2-positive breast cancer, there are no methods researchers can use to identify which patients are most likely to benefit from them. Dr. Rimm is investigating biomarkers that could predict response to various treatments and combinations, which would help ensure that each patient receives the appropriate treatment.
Current investigation: He and his team are working on improving diagnostic tests that increase the sensitivity and specificity of selection of the right drugs for breast cancer patients.
What he’s accomplished so far: Dr. Rimm’s team completed a standardization analysis of a prognostic assay commonly used in clinical trials to assess tumor response to therapy. The hope is that the assay may soon become standard of care for all breast cancer patients.
What’s next: Dr. Rimm will focus on standardization of methods to determine whether or not patients need chemotherapy using an inexpensive test called Ki67. While this test has been around for a long time, standardization and quantification of this test may provide information that is comparable to the Oncotype DX test but at less than one-tenth of the cost.
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.