Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology; Attending Physician, Thoracic Radiation Oncology Service; Head, Pulmonary Stereotactic Body Radiation Program; Co-Director, Laboratory of Cellular & Molecular Radiation Oncology
BiographyDr. Willers obtained his M.D. from the University of Hamburg Medical School in Germany in 1994. Interrupting his residency training in radiation oncology in Germany, he came to Boston in 1996 to work as a research fellow on DNA repair in the laboratory of Simon Powell, M.D., Ph.D.. He then completed his residency training in radiation oncology at the MGH in 2005. Following three years as an attending physician in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Boston Medical Center, he returned to the MGH in 2008 to join Noah C. Choi, M.D. on the Thoracic Radiation Oncology Service in the Department of Radiation Oncology. Dr. Willers has a busy clinical practice focusing on the care of patient with thoracic cancers of various types while also spending time in the laboratory. He is active in clinical, physics, and biology research with the overarching goal to build a molecular targeted radiation program that combines the latest advances in biological therapies with precision radiation therapy to increase the likelihood of cure without complications in patients with lung cancer.
Research efforts in Dr. Willers' laboratory are mainly directed at furthering our understanding of how non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) respond to radiation treatments and radiosensitizing drugs. The underlying clinical problem is that NSCLC tend to be difficult to eradicate by radiation therapy, owing to large size and biological characteristics. Therefore, novel treatment approaches are needed to overcome lung cancer radioresistance. There are three major focus areas:
Dr. Willers' clinical research activities focus on:
Dr. Willers' long-term goal is to contribute to the realization of "personalized" curative cancer therapy.
Out of 57 publications:
Wang M, Kern A, H?lsk?tter M, Greninger P, Singh A, Pan Y, Chowdhury D, Krause M, Baumann M, Benes C, Efstathiou J, Settleman J, Willers H. EGFR-mediated chromatin condensation protects KRAS-mutant cancer cells against ionizing radiation. Cancer Res 2014;74:2825-34
Liu Q, Wang M, Kern A, Khaled S, Han J, Yeap B, Hong T, Settleman J, Benes C, Held K, Efstathiou J, Willers H. Adapting a Drug Screening Platform to Discover Associations of Molecular Targeted Radiosensitizers with Genomic Biomarkers. Mol Cancer Res 2015;13:713-20
Liu Q, Ghosh P, Magpayo N, Testa M, Tang S, Biggs P, Paganetti H, Efstathiou J, Lu HM, Held K, Willers H. Lung Cancer Cell Line Screen Links Fanconi Anemia/BRCA Pathway Defects to Increased RBE of Proton Radiation. IJROBP 2015;91:1081-9
Al-Halabi H, Paetzold P, Sharp G, Olsen C, Willers H. A Contralateral Esophagus-Sparing Technique to Limit Severe Esophagitis Associated With Concurrent High-Dose Radiation and Chemotherapy in Patients With Thoracic Malignancies. IJROBP 2015;92:803-10
Al-Halabi H, Sayegh K, Digamurthy S, Niemierko A, Piotrowska Z, Willers H, Sequist L. Pattern of Failure Analysis in Metastatic EGFR-Mutant Lung Cancer Treated with Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors to Identify Candidates for Consolidation SBRT. J Thorac Oncol, 2015, in press
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