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Hedvig Hricak, MD, PhD
Member, Molecular Pharmacology & Chemistry Program
Professor, Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School
Chairman, Department of Radiology
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York
Goal: To standardize best practices in breast cancer to advance clinical management of breast cancer worldwide.
Impact: Dr. Hricak and her team have added new components to their international radiation oncology research training program. By providing education in the latest advances in breast imaging to radiologists around the world, they hope to improve breast cancer patient outcomes worldwide.
What’s next: The team will continue expanding training to advance clinical research in breast cancer imaging. The trainees use therapies such as ablation and radioembolization to treat primary and metastatic breast cancer. This year they will train three new radiologists in cutting-edge imaging tools.
Radiologists play a crucial role not just in detecting breast cancer and monitoring cancer response to therapy but also in breast cancer care, from image-guided breast cancer surgery to treatment interventions. However, radiologists working in less technologically sophisticated settings may not be familiar with the latest advances in screening and treatments. Dr. Hricak is leading a research training program that has educated radiologists in 19 countries, allowing these specialists to advance treatments and improve outcomes for patients in their communities.
Full Research Summary
Research area: Standardizing best practices in breast cancer to advance clinical management and improve outcomes of breast cancer worldwide.
Impact: Dr. Hricak is providing selected radiologists from around the world with intensive, individualized instruction in breast imaging interpretation and clinical research methodology. Her work will aid in the detection, diagnosis, prognosis, predictive treatment response, and disease status for breast cancer patients living in less technologically advanced areas.
Current investigation: Dr. Hricak and her colleagues in the department of radiology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center continue to expand their clinical research training program. They are now including training in interventional oncology for the use of locoregional therapies, such as ablation and radioembolization to treat primary and metastatic breast cancer, with emphasis on stimulating treatment-mediated, immunologic responses.
What she’s accomplished so far: So far, they have trained 48 radiologists from 19 countries in the use of advanced technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence for breast imaging and interventional oncology.
What’s next: She and her team will continue to build on their training program. This year one trainee will participate in a clinical research fellowship and work on a prospective trial—the goal of which is predict which genetic markers might have a favorable response to specific interventional oncology procedures. They will also recruit two new radiologists for six-month fellowships who will be involved in radiomics, radiogenomics, machine learning and artificial intelligence studies.
Hedvig Hricak is Chair of the Department of Radiology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, a member of the Molecular Pharmacology and Chemistry Program, Sloan Kettering Institute, and Professor, Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. The hallmark of her research career has been the validation of new imaging technologies and their translation into clinical practice, with a special emphasis on oncology. She is particularly renowned for pioneering the application of MRI to prostate and gynecological cancers. Her extensive publication record includes more than 380 peer-reviewed original research articles and over 135 monographs and book chapters. She is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and a "foreign" member of the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Russian Academy of Science. She has served on the Scientific Advisory Board of the National Cancer Institute, the Advisory Council of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, and the Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board of the NAS. She has long been committed to promoting education and international collaboration in imaging. With support from BCRF and NCI, she established a global program for training in breast cancer imaging and research. She is also PI of the NIH/NCI R25T program "Molecular Imaging: Training for Oncology," as well as MSKCC co-PI of the training section of the CCNY-MKSCC Partnership grant for underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral trainees. Her numerous honors and awards include an honorary doctorate from the Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich.