Research and Clinical Trials

In the fight against cancer, Yale Cancer Center (YCC) has been at the forefront of understanding the fundamental mechanisms of cancer biology and in developing effective therapies for the treatment of cancer. Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven, Yale Cancer Center and Yale School of Medicine work to advance cancer research, prevention, and patient care, as well as community outreach and education.

History of Excellence in Cancer Research

There is a long history of excellence in cancer research at Yale University. Yale School of Medicine is home to the country's first university-based Medical Oncology section, and its faculty pioneered many breakthroughs in cancer treatments, including the first-ever successful use of chemotherapy at Yale New Haven Hospital in 1942. Since then, our faculty has developed and characterized a number of therapeutic agents that are still in use today.

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Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that test how well new medical approaches work in people. Each study answers scientific questions and tries to find better ways to prevent, screen for, diagnose, or treat a disease. People who take part in cancer clinical trials have an opportunity to contribute to knowledge of, and progress against, cancer. They also receive up-to-date care from experts.

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Listed below are just some of the research initiatives underway at Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center.

Brain Tumor Program Research

In addition to state-of-the-art treatments, the physicians of the Brain Tumor Program conduct clinical trials through Yale Cancer Center or in the setting of multi-institutional studies coordinated by the national cancer consortia RTOG (Radiation Therapy Oncology Group) and ECOG (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group).

Research that physicians of the Brain Tumor Program either conduct themselves or are involved with through affiliations with basic scientists at Yale University School of Medicine focuses on a better understanding of the mechanisms that lead to brain cancer and the translation of this knowledge into new treatment strategies.

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Breast Cancer Program Research

Yale Cancer Center investigators are known throughout the worldwide medical community for their ability to explore the biology of a cellular receptor called HER-2. Our medical oncologists have been particularly successful in developing treatment strategies for HER-2 positive breast cancer and are currently offering innovative therapies for all subtypes of breast cancer.

Learn more about the Yale Breast Cancer Program and its research

Hematology Program Research

Yale Cancer Center continues to make innovative advances in the diagnosis and treatment of cutaneous lymphoma through the focused efforts of a ground-breaking clinical research team. Their multispecialty approach to the treatment of patients with cutaneous lymphomas has led to the development of FDA approved treatments that are now the standard of care worldwide.

Transimmunization, an innovation related to extracorporeal photochemotherapy (ECP) which was the first FDA approved selective immunotherapy for any cancer, is currently being investigated in clinical trials at Yale Cancer Center. As the scientific and clinical successor of extracorporeal photochemotherapy, it has potential to replace ECP as the standard of care for patients with advanced forms of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

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Melanoma Program Research

The Melanoma Program has one of only four NIH-funded Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grants in the country; these grants support research projects in melanoma. Also, the Milstein Meyer Center for Melanoma Research and Treatment is dedicated to developing more investigator- initiated clinical trials and designing new treatments for the often fatal illness.

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Pediatric Oncology Program Research

Along with his leadership of the Yale Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Program, Gary Kupfer, MD is also a laboratory investigator who studies how cells normally maintain genome integrity as well as how defects in such a system can lead to cancer. In addition, the basic studies in the laboratory have lead to the potential for clinical applications, such as the identification of a new way to treat resistant cancers.

The lab works on the relationship of genomic instability and the propensity towards development of cancer. Specifically, it focuses on the genetic syndrome Fanconi anemia (FA). Children with FA are born with congenital anomalies and develop aplastic anemia and an assortment of leukemias and other cancers.

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Thoracic Oncology Program Research

The Yale Cancer Center Thoracic Oncology Program's research efforts span clinical research, basic and translational science, and population sciences. These efforts include risk stratification and screening for lung cancer and molecular characterization of lung cancers.

Learn more about the Yale Cancer Center Thoracic Oncology Program and its research