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Dr. Ford is a medical oncologist and geneticist at Stanford, devoted to studying the genetic basis of breast and GI cancer development, treatment and prevention. Dr. Ford graduated in 1984 Magna Cum Laude (Biology) from Yale University where he later received his M.D. degree from the School of Medicine in 1989. He was a internal medicine resident (1989-91), Clinical Fellow in Medical Oncology (1991-94), Research Fellow of Biological Sciences (1993-97) at Stanford, and joined the faculty in 1998. He is currently Professor of Medicine (Oncology) and Genetics, and Director of the Stanford Cancer Genetics Clinic and the Cancer Genomics Program at the Stanford University Medical Center.Dr. Ford’s research goals are to understand the role of genetic changes in cancer genes in the risk and development of common cancers. He studies the role of the p53 and BRCA1 tumor suppressor genes in DNA repair, and uses techniques for high-throughput genomic analyses of cancer to identify molecular signatures for targeted therapies. Dr. Ford’s clinical interests include the diagnosis and treatment of patients with a hereditary pre-disposition to cancer. He runs the Stanford Cancer Genetics Clinic, that sees patients for genetic counseling and testing of hereditary cancer syndromes for prevention and early diagnosis of cancer in high-risk individuals and populations. He has recently been named the Director of Stanford’s new Cancer Genomics Program, performing next-generation tumor profiling to identify novel genetic targets for personalized targeted therapies, and directs the Molecular Tumor Board.Dr. Ford is an editor of numerous scientific journals, including Cancer Research, DNA Repair, and PLoS Genetics. He has recently been named the founding Editor-in-Chief of JCO Precision Oncology..
Hong Kong University, Sanitorium Hospital, NCCC
The major investigative focus of this laboratory and translational research program is to explore the mammalian genetic determinants of the inducible response and cellular sensitivity to DNA damage, focusing particularly on the effects of the p53 and BRCA1 gene products on DNA repair and cancer susceptibility. We have found that loss of p53 and BRCA1 function results in defective repair of DNA damage, including effects on homologous recombination, nucleotide and base-excision repair. In addition, we are exploring ways to exploit the DNA repair deficiency of p53 and BRCA1 mutant cancer cells and to identify targeted therapeutic approaches for the treatment and prevention of related cancers. Role of BRCA1 in base-excision DNA repair (BER): BRCA1 appears to have complex regulatory effects on multiple DNA repair pathways in addition to their shared role in homologous-recombination and DNA double strand break repair. We first described that breast cancer cell lines mutant for the BRCA1 gene exhibit sensitivity to oxidative DNA damage. We also developed a novel viral based “host-cell reactivation” assay to measure the repair of oxidative DNA damage in living cells using an adenoviral GFP reporter gene, and demonstrated that BRCA1 mutant cells were defective in BER. Discovery of small molecules that activate BER and may prevent BRCA1-associated tumors: We designed and performed a high-throughput screen to identify small-molecules that enhance DNA repair in a BRCA1 mutant background, and thus may serve as candidate agents for prevention of cancer by enhancing DNA repair and interrupting multistep mutagenesis. Several of these drugs are potentially “repurposeable” and are currently or were previously used in humans for other indications. We have shown activity of two in preventing the development of BRCA1-associated breast cancers in mice and are developing plans for a clinical trial using the lead hit for prevention of BRCA1-associated premalignant changes in ovaries from women undergoing risk-reducing bilateral oopherectomies. Clinical translation of Next-Generation Sequencing for hereditary cancer risk assessment: We recently led the first clinical study of next-generation gene panel DNA sequencing among women referred for breast cancer risk assessment using germline DNA samples from our large translational research biobank containing more than 2000 specimens, all donated by individuals tested for BRCA1/2 or other gene mutations. We found that >10% of patients had potentially pathogenic mutations in genes other than BRCA1/2, thus doubling the rate of identified germline cancer susceptibility gene alterations in this population, a discovery that has enabled early detection of cancers.Targeting TNBC and other malignancies with DNA damaging drugs and PARP: We found through preclinical studies and clinical trials that nearly all BRCA mutation associated breast cancer, and approximately half of non-BRCA mutant TNBC exhibit clinical sensitivity to platinum chemotherapy and synthetic lethality with PARP inhibitors. As part of these efforts, we performed extensive correlative studies on tumor tissue and germline DNA samples obtained from patients enrolled in a large, multi-institutional neoadjuvant clinical trial, using gene expression microarrays, DNA copy-number analyses, and germline DNA sequencing. We described a bioinformatic measure of homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) that is highly predictive of clinical response in these patients. Our current and future research goals in this area is to leverage our expertise in germline and tumor genomics to identify patients with breast and other cancers harboring DNA repair gene defects and HRD for treatment using PARP inhibitors and other DNA repair directed therapies (ATR and DNA-PK inhibitors). We have also developed breast cancer cell lines resistant to PARP-inhibitors and are exploring the mechanism for this drug resistance.
Study of Chemotherapy Plus Ipatasertib for People With Solid Tumors With AKT Mutations, A ComboMATCH Treatment Trial
This phase II ComboMATCH treatment trial tests the usual treatment of chemotherapy
(paclitaxel) plus ipatasertib in patients with solid tumor cancers that that cannot be
removed by surgery (unresectable), has spread to nearby tissue or lymph nodes (locally
advanced) or from where it first started (primary site) to other places in the body
(metastatic), and has an AKT genetic change. Chemotherapy drugs, such as paclitaxel, work in
different ways to stop the growth of tumor cells, either by killing the cells, by stopping
them from dividing, or by stopping them from spreading. Targeted therapy, such as
Ipatasertib, may stop the growth of tumor cells by blocking some of the enzymes needed for
cell growth. The addition of ipatasertib to paclitaxel in solid tumors with an AKT genetic
change could increase the percentage of tumors that shrink as well as lengthen the time that
the tumors remain stable (without progression). Researchers hope to learn if paclitaxel plus
ipatasertib will shrink this type of cancer or stop its growth.
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Targeted Therapy Directed by Genetic Testing in Treating Patients With Locally Advanced or Advanced Solid Tumors, The ComboMATCH Screening Trial
This ComboMATCH patient screening trial is the gateway to a coordinated set of clinical
trials to study cancer treatment directed by genetic testing. Patients with solid tumors that
have spread to nearby tissue or lymph nodes (locally advanced) or have spread to other places
in the body (advanced) and have progressed on at least one line of standard systemic therapy
or have no standard treatment that has been shown to prolong overall survival may be
candidates for these trials. Genetic tests look at the unique genetic material (genes) of
patients' tumor cells. Patients with some genetic changes or abnormalities (mutations) may
benefit from treatment that targets that particular genetic mutation. ComboMATCH is designed
to match patients to a treatment that may work to control their tumor and may help doctors
plan better treatment for patients with locally advanced or advanced solid tumors.
Assessments of Genetic Counseling Augmented With an Educational Video or Pamphlet Versus Traditional Counseling
The purpose of this research study is to understand the impact of an educational video or
pamphlet on the patient experience in a hereditary cancer genetic counseling program. In
order to make this assessment, it is necessary to perform qualitative and quantitative
research among patients in a hereditary cancer genetic counseling clinic.
A Study of Zenocutuzumab (MCLA-128) in Patients With Solid Tumors Harboring an NRG1 Fusion (eNRGy)
This is a Phase I/II, open-label, multi-center, multi-national, dose escalation, single agent
study to assess the safety, tolerability, PK, PD, immunogenicity and anti-tumor activity of
zenocutuzumab (MCLA-128) in patients with solid tumors harboring an NRG1 fusion (eNRGy)
Comprehensive Screening for Women at High Genetic Risk for Developing Breast Cancer
To screen women who are high risk for breast cancer with breast MRI, mammogram and random
periareolar fine needle aspiration.
Stanford is currently not accepting patients for this trial.
For more information, please contact Meredith Mills, 6507245223.
The Gastric Cancer Foundation: A Gastric Cancer Registry
The Gastric Cancer Registry will combine data acquired directly from patients with gastric
cancer; with a family history of gastric cancer in a first or second degree relative; or
persons with a known germline mutation in their CDH1 (E-Cadherin) gene via an online
questionnaire with genomic data obtained from saliva, blood and tissue samples. The purpose
of this registry is to gain better understanding of the causes of gastric cancer, both
environmental and genetic; whether certain genomic data can predict outcomes of treatment and
Clinical & Pathological Studies of Upper Gastrointestinal Carcinoma
Our research of the biology of upper gastrointestinal cancers involves the study of tissue
samples and cells from biopsies of persons with gastric or esophageal cancer or blood samples
from upper gastrointestinal cancer patients and persons at high inherited risk for these
cancers. We hope to learn the role genes and proteins play in the development of gastric and
Targeted Therapy Directed by Genetic Testing in Treating Patients With Advanced Refractory Solid Tumors, Lymphomas, or Multiple Myeloma (The MATCH Screening Trial)
This phase II MATCH trial studies how well treatment that is directed by genetic testing
works in patients with solid tumors or lymphomas that have progressed following at least one
line of standard treatment or for which no agreed upon treatment approach exists. Genetic
tests look at the unique genetic material (genes) of patients' tumor cells. Patients with
genetic abnormalities (such as mutations, amplifications, or translocations) may benefit more
from treatment which targets their tumor's particular genetic abnormality. Identifying these
genetic abnormalities first may help doctors plan better treatment for patients with solid
tumors, lymphomas, or multiple myeloma.
Stanford is currently not accepting patients for this trial.
For more information, please contact James M. Ford, 650-498-7061.
My Pathway: A Study Evaluating Herceptin/Perjeta, Tarceva, Zelboraf/Cotellic, Erivedge, Alecensa, and Tecentriq Treatment Targeted Against Certain Molecular Alterations in Participants With Advanced Solid Tumors
This multicenter, non-randomized, open-label study will evaluate the efficacy and safety of
six treatment regimens in participants with advanced solid tumors for whom therapies that
will convey clinical benefit are not available and/or are not suitable options per the
treating physician's judgment.
Stanford is currently not accepting patients for this trial.
For more information, please contact Nighat Ullah, 650-721-4076.
Genomic Profiling in Recommending Treatment for Patients With Metastatic Solid Tumors
This research trial studies using genomic profiling to recommend anticancer treatment to
patients with cancer that has spread beyond the original site of the tumor (metastatic
cancer). Genomic profiling studies the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) of a tumor to detect
genetic changes or abnormalities. This information can then be used to recommend treatments
that may be more likely to result in a beneficial response. It is not yet known whether
genomic profiling will detect abnormalities that can be used to make treatment
recommendations and whether treatment based on genomic profiling is more effective than
Genetic & Pathological Studies of BRCA1/BRCA2: Associated Tumors & Blood Samples
The purpose of this study is to try to understand the biology of development of breast,
ovarian, fallopian tube, peritoneal or endometrial cancer from persons at high genetic risk
for these diseases. The influence of environmental factors on cancer development in
individuals and families will be studied. The efficacy of treatments for these diseases will