Richard R. Love, MD, MS
2012-2013 BCRF Project:
(made possible by generous support from Radar Tires [Omni United])
International Breast Cancer Research Foundation
Continuing his work on developing practical, inexpensive interventions with limited side effects for women in Asia where two-thirds of all new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed annually, Dr. Love is conducting several concurrent projects. In the first project, Dr. Love's team will investigate the associations of six tumor biomarkers with recurrence of breast cancer in 680 Filipino and Vietnamese women participating in a clinical trial of surgical oophorectomy and tamoxifen adjuvant therapy for operable breast cancer. This research is conducted in collaboration with fellow BCRF grantee, D. Craig Allred, MD (Washington University School of Medicine).
In a second project, Dr. Love's group will conduct a cross sectional study in 90 Bangladeshi women to investigate familial violence, psychosocial distress, and care-seeking behavior for serious breast problems-cancers and major breast changes. Small studies of women in rural Bangladesh suggest that a diagnosis of breast cancer often has severe social consequences, including abandonment by family and rejection by her community. In one study, researchers found that over 40% of Bangladeshi women reported lifetime spousal abuse, which suggests that serious violence against women is widespread in the country. Understanding the social factors that increase psychosocial distress and prevent women from seeking care for breast problems has the potential to greatly improve health outcomes for breast cancer-afflicted women in Bangladesh and among populations sharing similar socio-cultural traits.
Dr. Love's third project is a feasibility study employing cell phones as part of follow-up care for home-bound terminally ill women with breast cancer. Dr. Love and colleagues have developed a questionnaire and a tool using photos of facial expressions to help patients convey the levels of pain and mood they are experiencing. In 2012-2013, they hope to complete the development of a cell phone applications package of symptom and signs status assessments including facial photo assessments for pain and mood, ambient temperature, activity and sleep measures, and tissue perfusion and hemoglobin level, as well as the health professional software tools to receive and organize these repeated assessments. Also, noninvasive techniques to determine blood hemoglobin level now exist, and Dr. Love's team is trying to adapt these in cell phones to help monitor patients' progress.
Mid-year Progress: Dr. Love's team continues to make progress on their projects. In their investigation of the associations of six tumor biomarkers with recurrence of hormone receptor positive breast cancer among women in an adjuvant trial, tissue microarrays for 485 cases have been prepared. The team will continue to prepare these tissue microarrays and will eventually analyze these samples.
In their study of familial violence and breast problem care-seeking in Bangladeshi women, Dr. Love's team has completed field arrangements, interview instruments, and the formation of the field team. They expect accrual to study to begin shortly.
The team has completed the development of a cell phone applications package of symptom and signs status assessments. Their assessments for which refined facial pictorial tools for pain and mood levels are currently being used in the field study. Also, their low level activity measurement tool, a non-invasive oxygen saturation index and hemoglobin level reading application, are ready for field assessment.
Dr. Richard R. Love is the Scientific Director of the International Breast Cancer Research Foundation (IBCRF). For the past 25 years Dr. Love has been involved with and has led clinical trials of hormonal therapies in breast cancer, and for the last 20 years he has been conducting breast cancer clinical trials in Asia. Dr. Love's phase III adjuvant oophorectomy/tamoxifen trial in Vietnam established this intervention as a global standard of care for women with hormone receptor positive tumors. The successor adjuvant trial investigating the timing of surgical oophorectomy has successfully accrued the planned 741 participants in Vietnam and Philippines, and its high quality conduct and data provide the unique opportunity to investigate tamoxifen pharmacogenomics. For the last seven years Dr. Love has been working in Bangladesh, on economic and human development which are critical to cancer outcomes improvement there, as well as on several breast cancer related research projects.
Dr. Love has been an advisor to the National Institute of Oncology in Rabat, Morocco, the National Cancer Institute in Hanoi, Vietnam, and the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii in Honolulu. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed scientific papers. In 2009, Dr. Love was selected to Research!America's Paul G. Rogers Society for Global Health Research.