Dr. Iafrate has helped make solid tumor genotyping for cancer patients available nationally. He is working to make this part of everyday care for cancer patients.
Dr. Iafrate is the director of the Center for Integrated Diagnostics, a clinical laboratory for molecular diagnostics at Massachusetts General Hospital. He oversees the Translational Research Laboratory (TRL), a shared effort of the Pathology Department and Mass General Cancer Center. The TRL provides rapid personalized genomic testing to help inform cancer treatment decisions for patients. Dr. Iafrate received his MD, PhD degrees from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 2000, and was trained in anatomic and molecular genetic pathology at Brigham and Women's Hospital. He joined the Massachusetts General Hospital staff in 2005. His post-doctoral work involved the discovery and description of a novel source of human genetic diversity, termed "copy number variation" (CNV). He established a cancer diagnostics lab focusing on genetic fingerprints that help guide novel, targeted therapies. His laboratory launched SNaPshot several years ago, an assay that tests over 100 of the most common mutations in tumors. His research is focused on lung and brain tumors, and he has been closely involved in the clinical development of crizotinib and companion diagnostics in ALK-positive lung cancers.
Research in the Iafrate laboratory focuses on bringing new genetic technologies to cancer diagnostics and their application to the practice of pathology. Initially research focused on lung cancer, but our approach is expanding to all malignancies. See details at the Iafrate Lab. For more information about research concepts, co-authors, and to see a timeline, visit Dr. Iafrate's profile at the Harvard Clinical and Translational Science Center.
The presentation of the MGH's top research prizes was a highlight of the April 13 Celebration of Science, held in conjunction with the annual Scientific Advisory Committee meeting.
A small percentage of the deadly brain tumors called glioblastomas, which usually resist treatment with drugs targeting mutations in cell-growth genes, appears to contain extra copies of two or three of these genes at the same time. The surprising discovery has major implications for the understanding of tumor biology and for targeted cancer therapies.
MGH Cancer Center investigators have defined the role of a recently identified gene abnormality – rearrangements in the ROS1 gene – in non-small-cell lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. They also show that these tumors can be treated with crizotinib and describe the remarkable response of one patient to such treatment.