Gaffney Lab

Molecular Testing With Gene Microarray  

Our team performed immunohistochemical testing to evaluate for preclinical factors predictive of radiation response. This area of research blossomed into molecular testing with gene microarray investigation.

We performed gene array analysis in RTOG 0128, the first time genetic signatures were explored in an NCI cooperative group gynecologic trial. With Dr. Joanne Weidhaas, we demonstrated a seven-gene signature predictive of radiation response. We evaluated the difference between pre- and post-treatment biopsies, which permitted us to show a significant difference in gene expression patterns.

The team has also been heavily involved in SEER analyses, including evaluation of secondary malignancies. The team has performed multi-institutional retrospective series using the HCI/IHC database. I have been fortunate enough to be involved in cooperative group research, as well as research through the Gynecologic Cancer Intergroup. We also evaluated various radiation sensitizers including PI3-kinase radiation sensitizers for treatment of cervical cancer.

I have also been interested in local regional control parameters in patients with breast cancer. The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes were initially identified in part at the University of Utah. I followed an early cohort of these patients and published the first demonstration of clinical radiation response in these patients in 1998. Our team performs SEER analyses as well as retrospective studies at Huntsman Cancer Institute in patients treated with a variety of breast cancer techniques. We accrue heavily to National Clinical Trial Network trials for our breast cancer patients.

I have had a long-standing interest in the radiotherapeutic management of Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients. Out team evaluated secondary cancer risks in these patients through the SEER registry. We also looked at control and response in mycosis fungoides patients and in patients treated in the post-autologous stem cell transplant setting.

News & Blog

Minimizing the side effects of cancer therapy
Oct 24, 2016

Minimizing the side effects of cancer therapy

Huntsman Cancer Institute,

It's a familiar struggle to anyone dealing with cancer; the treatments that get rid of the disease can also have serious side effects. Doctors at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) are working to reduce the negative effects of cancer treatment by pinpointing radiation therapy within a millimeter of where the cancer resides. Karen Curtis has a family history of cancer. The disease took the lives of her mother and sister. When she was diagnosed with cervical cancer last February, she assumed she didn't have much time to live. "The first time I found out I didn't cry, I didn't have any emotions about it," she says. "But, then you start going through it and you start losing your hair, and you start losing everything, it's like you're losing your dignity." ... Read More

David K Gaffney MD, PhD
Principal Investigator
Cancer Center Bio