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Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD, FAACR, FACP

Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland

Titles and Affiliations

Dana and Albert “Cubby” Broccoli Professor of Oncology
Deputy Director, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
Co-Director of the Gastrointestinal Cancers Program

Research area

Developing methods to optimize the use of immunotherapy for the treatment of early-stage, triple-negative breast cancer.


Patients with early-stage, high-risk, triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) are faced with an aggressive disease and the current standard of care treatment is lengthy: six-months of treatment before surgery (neoadjuvant treatment, usually with four chemotherapy agents in combination with pembrolizumab immunotherapy) followed by six more months of pembrolizumab given after surgery (adjuvant treatment). Further, based on their response, additional chemotherapy may be recommended. While response rates to the combination are high, toxicity can be significant and currently, there is no way to predict which patients require the entire regimen. Dr. Jaffee and her team are conducting a clinical trial that will test a novel way to assess how patients with TNBC respond to the standard therapy protocol. The results of their studies will provide valuable insights to inform treatment decisions and optimize the use of immunotherapy for treating patients with aggressive breast cancer.

What’s Next

Dr. Jaffee’s team will enroll patients with early-stage TNBC into the clinical trial. Patients will undergo the first three months of standard chemo-immunotherapy. The research team will monitor tumor response via changes in molecular biomarkers and by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at defined timepoints. If a patient’s tumor responds (as assessed by tumor shrinkage by MRI analysis), they will undergo surgery and further treatment if any disease remains at the time of surgery. Those whose tumors do not shrink will go on to complete the second round of standard chemo-immunotherapy followed by surgery. Further treatment decisions will be made depending on the remaining disease at the time of surgery. This trial will serve as a platform to help identify the right treatment dose for each patient, as well as to study therapy resistance. Dr. Jaffee and her colleagues hope these studies will prove valuable information for identifying patients who will do just as well with less treatment. Their results will potentially improve outcomes, reduce toxicity, and reduce cost as well as identify patients for whom novel therapies are needed.


Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD, FAACR, FACP is an internationally recognized expert in cancer immunology and pancreatic cancer. She is Deputy Director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Co-Director of the Skip Viragh Pancreatic Cancer Center, and Associate Director of the Bloomberg Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. Her research focus is on developing novel immunotherapies for the treatment and prevention of pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Jaffee is a Past President of American Association of Cancer Research and has served on a number of committees at the National Cancer Institute including co-chair of the Blue-Ribbon Panel that provided scientific advice to Vice President Biden’s Moonshot Initiative. She currently serves as chair of the National Cancer Advisory Board and Chief Medical Advisor to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research. She is the inaugural Director of the new Convergence Institute at Johns Hopkins and was recently elected to the National Academy of Medicine and is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians.

BCRF Investigator Since


Donor Recognition

The Clinique Award