Speaker Profile

M.D., Professor and Vice-chair, Department of Radiation Oncology, University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Dr. Harris has a long standing research interest in personalizing cancer therapy to improve outcomes and quality of life with fewer side effects from treatment. She is currently collaborating on an innovative, paradigm-changing approach to personalizing radiotherapy dose using a novel gene assay of radiosensitivity in solid tumors called RSI-GARD. Dr. Harris is active in clinical research as a senior member of the Breast and Gynecologic research committees of the NRG cooperative group, and of the scientific program committee for the American Society for Clinical Oncology, and as an independent investigator and mentor for junior faculty and students. She has an interest in promoting quality standards of cancer care, through her work as chair of the Emerging Technology Committee and member of the Guidelines Committee for the American Society for Radiation Oncology, as well as the chair of the American Radium Society Appropriate Use Criteria Panel for breast cancer.

Precision Medicine for Breast Cancer: Personalizing Radiotherapy
For decades breast radiotherapy dosed “one size fits all” regimens, leading to over and under-treatment. A precision medicine approach assays each woman’s breast cancer to determine its radiosensitivity to apply the precise dose of radiation needed to provide tumor control, and to select those who will not benefit from therapy.

 Session Abstract – PMWC Silicon Valley

Researchers have long been recognizing the uniqueness of women’s health and the substantial effect on clinical practice, acknowledging the increasing appreciation of the importance of multidisciplinary approaches to health and disease. In every organ system, there are diseases that are unique to women, more common in women than in men, or characterized by differences in disease course in women compared with men. This session will include the effect of women’s health on the following topics:

  • Reproductive Women's Health Overview
    - Sean George, Invitae
  • Preterm Birth & The Promise Of Biomarkers
    New “omics” assays that measure multiple biomarkers shed light on processes that lead to increased risk of preterm birth and generate biomarkers of risk of preterm birth that are useful for prediction. Those two applications (mechanism identification and prediction) could be useful for developing therapeutic targets, diagnostic tests, as well as identifying populations at particularly high risk in whom interventions might be most important.
    - Amy Murtha, UCSF
    - Larry Rand, UCSF
    - Stephen Quake, Stanford
  • NIPT
    Current non-invasive prenatal screening is targeted toward the detection of chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus, providing much higher test sensitivity and specificity than traditional maternal serum screening for trisomy 21, 18 and 13. New approaches for non-invasive prenatal sequencing are being developed to detect causative genes for frequent dominant monogentic diseases that can lead to significant adverse health outcomes. This will help guide physician and parent decisions for further evaluation and management of the pregnancy.
    - Brynn Levy, Columbia University
  • Carrier Screening And Moving To Whole Genome
    Prenatal genetic carrier screening has changed rapidly over the past few decades, driven by advances in technology, increased awareness of rare inherited conditions and their impact on families, and increased availability of treatments for inherited rare diseases. As we move from screening only a limited number of variants in a small handful of conditions in only high-risk populations to screening many variants in a large number of genes across broad ancestry groups, the conditions and genes most appropriate for screening remain a matter of debate.
    - James Goldberg, Myriad
    - Jennifer Saucier, Natera
    - Nikica Zaninovic, Weill Cornell Medical College
    - Aimee Eyvazzadeh, Egg Whisperer
    - Margareta D. Pisarska, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
  • Endometriosis
    This common, estrogen-dependent, inflammatory disease that is associated with a high prevalence of pelvic pain and reduced fertility in women remains challenging for clinicians, researchers, and those affected. A considerable heritable component to endometriosis risk has been established through both family- and population-based studies. New minimally invasive diagnostic methods are being developed to enable early intervention that might reduce suffering and expenses related to the disease.
    - Heather Bowerman, Dotlab
  • Endometrial Microbiota
    - Cengiz Cinnioglu, Igenomix
  • In Vitro Fertilization
    Despite continual advances in techniques and technology since the introduction of in vitro fertilization more than 40 years ago, this approach is successful in fewer than half of initiated cycles. Major advancements have been made in methods to improve oocyte quality in older women, new stimulation protocols that may improve the number of mature oocytes retrieved during in vitro fertilization cycle, pre-implantation genetic screening, and endometrial receptivity evaluation.
    - Akash Kumar, MyOme Inc.
    - Claire Tomkins, Future Family
  • Menopause and Early Predictors
    Current osteoporosis medications reduce fractures significantly but have rare and serious adverse effects that may limit their safety for long-term use. Insights from basic bone biology and genetic disorders have led to recent advances in therapeutics for osteoporosis. Combination and sequential treatments using osteoporosis medications with different mechanisms of action have also been tested with promising results. On the horizon is the potential for cell-based therapies and drugs that target the elimination of senescent cells in the bone microenvironment.
    - Marcelle Cedars, UCSF
  • Breast Cancer
    Advances in molecular pathology have led to a new understanding of existing cancer classification systems. Inter-tumoral heterogeneity remains a critical factor at the analysis of breast cancer molecular pathology, with vast variation at the genetic, cellular, morphological and microenvironmental levels. As few breast cancers are truly the same, precision therapy is critical to minimize overtreatment and treatment-associated morbidity, while preventing recurrence and progression.
    - Ramesh Hariharan, Natera
    - Eleanor Harris, Case Western
    - George Sledge, Stanford
    - Barbara Cohn, Public Health Institute