As head of the Translational Breast Cancer Genomics and Therapeutics Laboratory, Professor Sherene Loi's research interest is to translate interesting scientific findings into innovative treatment approaches that may ultimately improve the survival of breast cancer patients. To facilitate this, her laboratory uses genomic approaches to analyse breast cancer specimens to understand mechanisms of growth, immune evasion and progression. For patients, Prof. Loi's interest lies in clinical trials evaluating targeted agents against specific breast cancer molecular subtypes.
Being a clinician, Professor Loi has a strong focus on translation. Based on rationale from preclinical work, she developed and led the first phase II study of PD-1 inhibition (pembrolizumab) in combination with trastuzumab in the advanced HER2-positive setting. This was an international study. She was one of the first clinicians to treat advanced TNBC patients with pembrolizumab and involved (Steering committee) in protocol development and recruitmen to the first Phase III registration study of atezolizumab in advanced TNBC (Impassion130 published in the NEJM). She is leading two global registration studies in immunotherapy in breast cancer. These are the KATE3 study (advanced HER2 positive breast cancer) as well as early stage high-risk hormone receptor positive breast cancer. Additionally, Professor Loi has a number of investigator led clinical trials ongoing.
Professor Loi also has a strong interest in biomarker development as this can help us manage patients better. She has also led the development and implementation of an immune biomarker in breast cancer: tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILS). With pathologist collaborator, Dr Roberto Salgado, they have developed the International Immune Oncology Working Group. This biomarker is now established as part of routine breast cancer pathology reporting in many countries for prognosis as well as ultimately for use in prediction of responders to checkpoint blockade. It was also included in the 2019 WHO Blue Book on Breast Tumors as well as recommended by the European Society of Medical Oncology early breast cancer guidelines and the St Gallen early breast cancer consensus guidelines.
Professor Loi is Co-Chair of the Swiss based International Breast Cancer Study Group (IBCSG) as well as a non-Executive Director and Scientific Committee Member of Breast Cancer Trials (BCT) Australian and New Zealand breast cancer cooperative trials group. She is also a Board Member of the Breast International Group (BIG), Belgium. Professor Loi is a graduate and member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
In the news
- 2021 Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences Jian Zhou Medal recipient
- 2020 AACR Outstanding Investigator Award for Breast Cancer Research
- 2020 European Society of Clinical Oncology Breast Cancer Award
- 2019 Breast Cancer Trials, Robert Sutherland Award for Excellence in Translational Research
- 2019 Bruce Cain Orator Prize, New Zealand Society for Oncology
- 2018 – 2020 Clarivate Analytics, Highly Cited Researcher in the field of Clinical Medicine
- 2018 – 2022 Inaugural National Breast Cancer Research Foundation (Australia) Endowed Chair
- 2016 Peter Mac Award in the “Accelerate Discovery” Individual Category
- 2015-2022 Breast Cancer Research Foundation, NY Research Fellow