Learn about clinical trials in this video with Elizabeth Abraham, RN, clinical research nurse at Mass General Cancer Center.
Explore the Termeer Center
The Henri and Belinda Termeer Center for Targeted Therapies offers new hope to patients and their families at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and beyond, as the center defines the future of cancer therapy. With its focus on innovative clinical trials, the Termeer Center is committed to offering its patients the best and most advanced treatments available.
Led by Dejan Juric, MD, a renowned expert in personalized cancer medicine and breast cancer specialist, the Termeer Center offers a comprehensive translational research program to speed the discovery and delivery of new targeted therapies to patients with early and advanced stage cancers.
The Termeer Center brings together cutting-edge research resources and provides a foundation for collaborations among physicians and investigators from a broad spectrum of biomedical disciplines, resulting in a rapidly expanding arsenal of weapons against cancer. Leading specialists from the Cancer Center’s 24 disease centers participate in the Termeer Center by enrolling their patients in its expansive portfolio of Phase I, Phase II and Phase III clinical trials.
The cycle of discovery is swift and efficient, with newly identified genetic abnormalities revealing new information about cancer pathways and creating novel investigative possibilities, not only for Mass General researchers but for scientific collaborators around the world. The Termeer Center's goal is to cut the average time for drug development from ten years to five and, with more clinical trials, improve access to therapy for patients. With hundreds of new anti-cancer therapies now in the development pipeline and countless patients waiting for targeted drugs that match their individual tumors, the Termeer Center's work is vital and timely.
What is Personalized Cancer Medicine?
The Mass General Cancer Center is a world leader in personalized cancer medicine, the concept of matching molecularly-targeted treatments to specific genetic abnormalities that enable cancer cells in a patient's tumor to thrive. The Cancer Center's proven track record of discovery includes significant breakthroughs in lung cancer, melanoma and breast cancer, among others.
In this video, Genevieve Boland, MD, PhD, surgical director of the Termeer Center for Targeted Therapies, shares how targeted treatments, immunotherapies and multidisciplinary collaboration have impacted melanoma care.
How is the Termeer Center Different?
In many ways, the Termeer Center represents a paradigm shift from traditional clinical cancer research. For example, in traditional clinical trials, experimental therapies are tested first in patients who have not responded to standard treatments. However, with genotype-based targeted therapies, clinical trials can begin at a much earlier stage of the disease process, when the chances of observing benefits for the patient are far greater. Additionally, since various forms of cancer have been found to share common tumor mutations, researchers are learning to apply targeted drugs across multiple tumor types. With this personalized, genotype-based approach, the Termeer Center can rapidly assign patients to the treatment that fits their cancer’s unique genetic profile.
Unique Resources and Strengths
- The Translational Research Laboratory enables SNaPshot genotyping for more than 130 gene mutations commonly found in patients' tumors. Mass General was the first institution to provide this capability in a clinical setting, and investigators are now working on next generation sequencing, which will have the capacity to detect and analyze thousands of additional mutations.
- With the addition of genotyping through Guardant, mutation detection is increasingly accessible, requiring only a small blood draw. Simplifying the process has allowed for even more patients to be matched with the clinical trial that fits their needs.
- Investigators in the Center for Molecular Therapeutics screen 1,100 human cancer cell lines derived from tumors of virtually every tissue type, including breast, brain, colon, lung, pancreas, kidney, stomach, skin and blood, to identify which genetically-defined subgroups within cancers are sensitive to new molecularly-targeted therapies. The results from this high-throughput screening process inform the selection of patients for subsequent clinical trials investigating these drugs.
- Strong partnerships with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies – resulting from a long history of positive collaborations with industry, as well as Mass General leadership of national and international cancer forums – provide access to developmental drugs and generate resources to fund early phase clinical trials.
- The Mass General Cancer Center treats 17,000 patients each year, including 9,000 new patients. High patient volume is vital to a successful clinical trials program. Additionally, the Cancer Center has long-term relationships with other leading institutions around the world, as well as with community-based cancer centers, enabling collaborative, multi-site, Mass General-led trials.
- Patients in the Termeer Center are cared for by an expert team of research and clinical nurses. Patients are matched with a primary nurse team who get to know the patients and their family well. This nursing team establishes a trusting relationship and ushers patients through each visit with expert care, symptom management, education and advocacy.
Advancing Care through Research and Clinical Trials
The Center for Targeted Therapies conducts extensive basic and translational research to accelerate the delivery of new, cutting-edge therapies into the clinical setting. Our current research includes:
- Next generation EGF receptor, HER2, HER3, ALK, c-Met, PI3 kinase, mTOR, FGFR, ERK and BRAF targeted therapies
- Cyclin-dependent kinase and PARP inhibitors
- Drugs blocking FGF, Tie-2 and other angiogenesis mediators
- Cancer vaccines promoting immune response to cancerous cells
- Cutting-edge imaging methods for determining early response to therapy
Learn more about clinical trials.
Meet the Team
Candid Conversations about Clinical Trials for our Communities
In this series of discussions about clinical trials you will learn about the importance of clinical trials, the care team involved, and will hear first-hand about a patient’s experience.
Pioneer of Targeted Cancer Therapy Details Goals
Dejan Juric, MD, director of the Henri and Belinda Termeer Center for Targeted Therapies, discusses his plans to accelerate translational research and get new treatments more quickly to more patients.
Related News and Articles
- Nov | 17 | 2020
With its focus on innovative clinical trials, the Henri and Belinda Termeer Center for Targeted Therapies at the Mass General Cancer Center is committed to offering its patients the best and most advanced treatments available.
- Jan | 14 | 2020
Casandra McIntyre, RN, Nurse Director, gives Billy Costa a tour of the Termeer Center and explains how the Termeer Center is committed to offering its patients the best and most advanced treatments available.
- Jul | 7 | 2020
Dr. Rebecca Heist and Casandra McIntyre, RN discuss what clinical trials are and why they are important. Learn how clinical trials are benefitting patients and how we are keeping enrollees safe.