Karin Finberg, MD, PhD, is a board-certified molecular genetic pathologist who specializes in using genetic sequencing techniques to characterize tumors from patients with cancer. Her clinical activities are performed in Yale New Haven Hospital's (YNHH) Tumor Profiling Laboratory.
“Our laboratory performs genetic analyses on a wide range of solid tumor types, including lung cancer, colorectal cancer, melanoma, and many others,” Dr. Finberg says. “In some cases, we are looking for specific genetic alterations in the tumor DNA that could make a patient eligible for a selected FDA-approved therapy that targets a particular genetic change. In other cases, we are evaluating the tumor DNA and RNA for a broader range of genetic abnormalities that might serve as entry criteria for clinical trials evaluating drugs that are being actively investigated.”
Dr. Finberg’s role is to review tumor testing results and to provide a clinical interpretation that will aid the referring oncologist in planning therapy for the patient. In addition to preparing pathology reports, she discusses tumor testing results with oncologists at the Yale Cancer Center's Precision Medicine Tumor Board, where molecular findings are considered in the context of each patient's individual clinical picture to help determine therapeutic options.
"There has been steady progress in the development of targeted therapies in recent years, and as a result, we have seen a large increase in tumor testing requests placed by oncologists," Dr. Finberg says. “By looking for a wide range of genetic changes in tumor specimens, we hope to increase our ability to match a patient to a clinical trial.”
Dr. Finberg divides her time between clinical work in the YNHH Tumor Profiling Laboratory and genetic-based laboratory research that investigates how the body handles iron, a metal that is essential for growth of normal cells, as well as for cancer cells.
At Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Finberg is an associate professor of pathology.