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Kim Blenman, PhD

Yale School of Medicine
New Haven, Connecticut

Titles and Affiliations

Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine Section of Medical Oncology
Yale School of Medicine
New Haven, Connecticut

American Association for Cancer Research

Research area

Identifying immune biomarkers of treatment adverse events.


Breast cancer treatments are often accompanied by side effects that can range from minor to severe. Severe side effects often require dose reductions or treatment pauses that may impact patient outcomes. In some cases, chemotherapy or immunotherapy treatments can cause autoimmune and other immune-mediated adverse events (AEs) but the causes are poorly understood. B cells are a type of white blood cell that create antibodies that recognize foreign invaders in the body as well as autoantibodies that respond to a person’s own organs or tissues. B cells are present in the tumor immune microenvironment but are generally ignored. As such, there is limited knowledge about how B cells contribute to AEs caused by therapies. Dr. Blenman’s goal is to identify B cell biomarkers and autoantibodies that are associated with therapy-induced AEs in specimens from breast cancer patients.

Progress Thus Far

To accomplish this, Dr. Blenman’s team is establishing a baseline of autoantibodies that are present in healthy individuals that can be compared to the immune profile in patients with breast cancer before, during, and after treatment. In the last year, Dr. Blenman and her team showed that healthy individuals have many autoantibodies in common while others are unique. These common autoantibodies may serve as reference standards or housekeeping markers for comparing immune profiles within and between breast cancer patients. In addition, Dr. Blenman and her colleagues are seeking ways to determine if these unique autoantibodies could be used as markers to predict if/when therapy-induced adverse events may occur and as a tool to monitor symptoms during survivorship.

What’s Next

Dr. Blenman and her team will build on their findings relating to common and unique autoantibodies among healthy individuals and patients with breast cancer. In addition, they will compare how autoantibodies are affected by treatment. Their results may help to define the role of B cells in mediating therapy-induced side effects across different treatment protocols, help us gain a better understanding of these functions, and help to develop novel tests to predict immune-related AEs.


Kim RM Blenman, PhD, MS is an immunologist and clinical chemist who uses and develops novel software tools to understand the mechanisms responsible for disparities in disease pathogenesis and therapeutic response. She earned a doctorate in immunology, a master’s in clinical chemistry, and a bachelor’s in chemistry from the University of Florida. Dr. Blenman also has a certificate in Drug Development and Regulatory Sciences from the University of California, San Francisco. She had the privilege of learning and working on drug discovery and clinical development at Procter & Gamble’s Pharmaceutical division as a senior scientist and as a global research director for autoimmune diseases, inflammatory bowel disease, and irritable bowel syndrome. She was also a Postdoctoral Fellow at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, California. Dr. Blenman is currently an Assistant Professor in the Yale School of Medicine Department of Internal Medicine Section of Medical Oncology and the Yale Cancer Center as well as an Assistant Professor in the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science.

BCRF Investigator Since


Donor Recognition

The von Mandl Family Foundation Award