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New Scientists and Clinicians Join Cancer Institute

The Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute is bolstering its formidable roster of physicians and researchers with the addition of four highly regarded doctors who will expand clinical and investigational options for breast cancer and prostate cancer patients.

The doctors are trailblazers in their fields, focusing on first-of-its-kind immunotherapy for breast cancer; innovations in breast-cancer radiation; genomic sequencing for personalized cancer treatment; and cancer prevention, treatment and survival, particularly among minority populations.

The newcomers also provide additional options for patients who feel more comfortable being treated by women physicians. Three of them assumed their posts in November; the fourth begins in early January.

"We're delighted to welcome these talented scientists and superb clinicians, who will have a positive impact on our patients and on the scholarly culture of the cancer institute," said Steven Piantadosi, MD, PhD, director of the institute.

The doctors are:

Heather McArthur, MD, MPH
Medical Director, Breast Oncology
Staff Physician in the Division of Hematology Oncology and the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute
Acting Associate Professor of Medicine

McArthur, who joins Cedars-Sinai from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, is a medical oncologist with a clinical breast cancer practice. Her research focuses on innovations in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, with a special interest in novel immune therapy strategies.

She's working on a treatment that combines cryoablation — freezing of a tumor — with immune therapy drugs that are effective in treating advanced melanoma, an aggressive skin cancer. She has been a reviewer for numerous clinical journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, the Journal of Clinical Oncology and Cancer. She has written more than 65 articles, invited commentaries and book chapters on breast cancer.

"Breast cancer patients, who feel so vulnerable, need a special relationship with their oncologist," McArthur said. "My relationships with patients are very deep and very special. I treat them like family members."

McArthur said that she and frequent collaborator Alice Y. Ho, MD, MBA, also from Memorial Sloan Kettering, are committed to furthering the research goals in breast cancer at Cedars-Sinai.

"We are excited to build a multidisciplinary breast cancer program that's clinically oriented and connects to unique clinical trials," McArthur said.

Alice Y. Ho, MD, MBA
Staff Physician
Director of Breast Radiation Oncology, Department of Radiation Oncology and Division of Hematology Oncology and the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute
Acting Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology and Medicine

Ho is a radiation oncologist with a clinical practice dedicated solely to the care of breast cancer patients. Her research is focused on radiation techniques that minimize adverse side effects from radiation and improve the quality of life in breast cancer patients who undergo reconstructive surgery. She also is developing novel radiation-and-drug treatments for women with triple-negative breast cancer and clinical trials for women with positive lymph nodes who undergo mastectomy. She has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles, reviews, commentaries, book chapters and books on breast cancer.

"We're pioneering studies in breast cancer at Cedars-Sinai. We want to use combinations of cryoablation, chemotherapy, immune therapy and radiation to see if the results are better than using any single agent alone," Ho said. "Women will be able to take advantage of helpful programs, depending on their type of breast cancer."

Reva Basho, MD
Staff Physician, Division of Hematology Oncology

Basho's interests include the development of new therapies for high-risk breast cancer that is resistant to standard therapy, particularly triple-negative breast cancer. In recent years, significant progress has been made to subdivide breast cancer into groups that may respond to certain classes of drugs. Basho, a clinical researcher who comes from the University of Texas MD Anderson Center, says she hopes to employ this knowledge to design clinical trials that test novel targeted therapies in various types of patients. She has served as first author on studies in top journals and received a 2016 Young Investigator Award from the Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

"As I continue to develop my career as a breast cancer researcher at Cedars-Sinai, I hope to bring relevant and high-impact clinical trials to patients," Basho said. "Together, we can continue to overcome the obstacles that we face in fighting breast cancer today and in the future."

Jane Figueiredo, PhD
Director, Community and Population Health Research, Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute
Research Scientist, Division of Hematology Oncology
Acting Associate Professor of Medicine

Figueiredo's research seeks to understand how environmental and genetic factors affect the development, treatment and prevention of disease, especially among minority populations. Her studies examine risk factors and long-term outcomes for colorectal, prostate and breast cancer patients. Figueiredo, who comes from the Keck School of Medicine of USC, is looking for new biomarkers from blood, urine and stool samples to predict treatment response and likely outcomes. She also is looking at how patients' health practices influence the effectiveness and safety of treatments.

"My goal at Cedars-Sinai is to advance interdisciplinary cancer research using approaches based on samples from appropriate populations, and develop a comprehensive research program in colorectal cancer," Figueiredo said.