Titles and Affiliations

Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Faculty Advancement
Chief, Division of Breast Oncology
Thompson Chair in Breast Cancer Research
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Harvard Medical School
Boston, Massachusetts
Member, BCRF Scientific Advisory Board


Research area

Improving quality of life for patients with HER2-positive breast cancer.

Impact

HER2 is an oncogene that plays a role in the development and progression and is a driving force in about 30 percent of breast cancers. Non-metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer, once a deadly disease, is now curable in more than 90 percent of cases, but the treatments can cause severe side effects. Standard adjuvant (post-surgery) treatment for early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer includes multiple lines of chemotherapy plus HER2-directed therapy even though there is not a clear benefit to more chemotherapy. Most patients with non-metastatic, HER2-positive disease have excellent long-term outcomes, so it is important to be able to identify who can be treated just as effectively with less toxic, less intensive therapy. Dr. Winer aims to personlize the amount of chemotherapy while maintaining treatment efficacy, which will improve quality of life and decrease the chance of rare but serious chemotherapy complications.

Progress Thus Far

Dr. Winer’s work is based on earlier studies showing that additional chemotherapies after surgery can have both short-term adverse effects such as nausea, fatigue, and hair loss and long-term effects such as the potential of heart damage or secondary leukemia. Though chemotherapy-associated toxicities are common, they are still useful or necessary for patients with more aggressive cancers who can benefit from them. Over the past year, Dr. Winer completed the DAPHNe clinical trial, which showed the feasibility and promise of this approach. 

What's next

Dr. Winer has now begun accrual to the MARGOT trial, as well as two smaller phase II trials incorporating the novel anti-HER2 antibody drug margetuximab (MARGENZA™) into pre-operative treatment for HER2-positive breast cancer. He will conduct analyses from clinical samples to gain a better understanding of the relationship between anti-HER2 antibody therapy and clinical outcomes after neoadjuvant therapy.

Biography

Eric P. Winer, MD, is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Faculty Advancement, Chief, Division of Breast Oncology, and the Thompson Chair in Breast Cancer Research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.  He is the Principal Investigator of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center SPORE in Breast Cancer, and he serves as the co-chair of the NCI Breast Cancer Steering Committee that oversees the breast cancer clinical trials sponsored by the NCI.  Dr. Winer has received numerous awards for breast cancer research.  He has also been recognized for his mentoring efforts.  The Dana-Farber breast cancer program cares for thousands of individuals with breast cancer each year and has an extensive research portfolio with the goal of extending the lives of individuals with breast cancer and minimizing suffering from the disease. 

Dr. Winer is a graduate of Yale College, with a degree in History and Russian/East European Studies. He subsequently obtained his medical degree from Yale School of Medicine, followed by training in internal medicine at Yale. He completed a fellowship in medical oncology at Duke University Medical Center and remained on the Duke Faculty until 1997, when he moved to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston to assume the role of Director of the Breast Oncology Center.

BCRF Investigator Since

2003

Donor Recognition

The Play for P.I.N.K. Aquidneck Club Award

Areas of Focus