Titles and Affiliations

Chief Clinical Research Officer
Associate Cancer Center Director, Clinical Research
Director, Clinical Trials Office
Yale Cancer Center

Research area

A clinical trial testing new immunotherapy combinations for HER2-positive breast cancer.


HER2-positive breast cancer can be highly aggressive when it progresses to an advanced stage. Drugs that specifically target HER2, such as trastuzumab, have improved outcomes, but metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer is still incurable and resistance to trastuzumab and other HER2-directed agents remains a critical problem. Researchers are exploring potential combinations of trastuzumab with other therapies and immunotherapies as a compelling option. Trastuzumab acts by causing an anti-tumor immune response against HER2-bearing tumor cells, but tumors are highly effective at blunting immune activity. Immunotherapies are designed to reactivate the immune system in tumors, and Dr. Krop and colleagues designed a clinical trial testing the benefit of immunotherapy in combination with trastuzumab and chemotherapy, in advanced HER2-positive breast cancer. 

Progress Thus Far

The AVIATOR (NCT03414658) trial is designed to determine if the addition of a PD-L1-targeting immunotherapy drug called avelumab (Bavencio®) can improve response to trastuzumab. The trial compares standard therapy (trastuzumab plus chemotherapy) with avelumab versus standard therapy alone. A total of 100 patients will be enrolled. 

What’s next

The study is open at 14 clinical sites and has recruited 96 of a planned 100 patients. In addition, patient samples are being collected throughout the study which will provide important biological information on how the drugs performed, which can help guide future trial design. 


Ian Elliott Krop, MD, PhD, is the Chief Clinical Research Officer and
Associate Cancer Center Director for Clinical Research at Yale Cancer Center in New Haven, CT.

Dr. Krop is a translational investigator focused on the development of novel molecularly targeted therapies and immunotherapies for breast cancer, and elucidating the mechanisms of resistance to these treatments. The majority of his effort is concentrated in the area of HER2+ breast cancer. He was a leader in the development of the antibody-drug conjugate trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1).

Dr. Krop currently serves as Chief Scientific Officer for the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium. He is a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Breast Cancer Steering Committee and co-chairs its Immuno-Oncology Working Group. He is also the co-vice chair for correlative science for the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology. He is a member of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Data Monitoring Committee.

Dr. Krop is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He trained at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He completed a medical oncology fellowship at Dana-Farber.