Lori J. Pierce, MD, FASTRO
Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs
2012-2013 BCRF Project(s):
(made possible by generous support from ULTA Beauty)
Professor of Radiation Oncology
University of Michigan Medical School
Ann Arbor, Michigan
PARP (poly-adenosine diphosphate-ribose polymerase) enzymes play an important role in specific pathways that are needed to repair DNA damage particularly
in cancers with pre-existing defects in DNA repair, such as those caused by BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. PARP inhibitors are a novel class of compounds that
inhibit the function of enzymes needed for DNA repair thus rendering them unable to repair DNA damage. Radiotherapy also damages tumor cells by causing DNA
damage. Therefore concurrent administration of a PARP inhibitor with radiotherapy could render the cancer unable to repair radiation‐associated DNA
damage and result in greater tumor kill than with radiation alone. Dr. Pierce's team plans to enroll 30 patients on a phase I trial where they will give a
concurrent PARP inhibitor, veliparib, with radiation in patients who will require radiation and have cancers that historically have been difficult to
control at the chest wall with radiation only. They have completed the regulatory requirements at the University of Michigan and are beginning to screen
patients for the study. Contract and IRB review are on‐going at four collaborating institutions. Thus over the next year, Dr. Pierce's team plans to
screen and enroll patients on the Phase I trial and determine the maximally tolerated dose of veliparib.
Dr. Pierce received her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and then received her MD degree from Duke University. She was resident and Chief Resident in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Pierce was a Senior Investigator in the Radiation Oncology Branch at the National Cancer Institute and then joined the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Michigan where she is currently a Professor.
Dr. Pierce's research focuses on the use of radiotherapy in the multi-modality treatment of breast cancer, with emphasis upon contemporary radiotherapy treatment planning techniques and upon the use of radiation in women with breast cancer who harbor a breast cancer susceptibility gene and potential radiosensitization with PARP inhibitor drugs. Dr. Pierce is on multiple editorial boards, breast cancer committees and study sections, and is an invited speaker at national and international symposia.