The University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Grace Makari-Judson

Associate Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine; Co-Director, The Rays of Hope Center for Breast Cancer Research; Chair, Baystate Health Breast Network

Research areas include cancer survivorship, breast cancer, and benign breast disease.

Current Research
The growing spectrum of cancer therapies provides improving prospects for patients. Our Baystate Regional Cancer Program practice actively participates in Phase 2 and Phase 3 cooperative group and industry sponsored clinical trials. However, identifying which therapies will be successful for individual patients as well as managing the long-term consequences of the treatments remains a challenge. This requires multidisciplinary approaches to identify novel diagnostic tools to recognize disease early, indicate targeted therapies and monitor side-effects that develop acutely and cause chronic complications.

Breast cancer has been a focus of my clinical practice. We have demonstrated that insulin resistance and weight gain are common consequences of cytotoxic therapies, but not radiation and surgery alone. Strategies that limit weight gain is a focus of our survivorship program. In addition, we have collaborative projects to develop a diagnostic test for women with premalignant breast lesions. This population is growing due to improved screening, but for whom treatment options are unclear. Several medications can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer by 50% however, many women are not inclined to take medication for prevention. Since only 20% of women with premalignant breast lesions develop cancer, diagnostic tests are critical to identify the subset of patients who will benefit from preventive therapies and the ~80% for whom treatments are unnecessary.

As Co-Director of the Rays of Hope Center for Breast Cancer Research, I participate in translational research and have actively fostered the development of a Breast Research Registry. This provides a growing resource of women who have consented to provide personal and clinical data as well as tissues for research projects. They have also consented to be re-contacted for follow-up. We are presently consenting >100 new patients annually but can be increased to ~300 given the patient volume. The Registry provides a valuable resource to quickly identify patients for potential studies related to interventions and to improve survivorship.

Academic Background

  • AB Harvard University, 1977
  • MD Cornell University Medical College, 1982
  • Research Associate, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, 1977-1978
  • Internship, The New York Hospital, 1982-1983
  • Residency, Internal Medicine, The New York Hospital, 1983-1985
  • Fellowship, Hematology/Oncology, The New York Hospital, 1985-1988
  • Chief Resident, Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1986-1987
Goff SL, Kleppel R, Makari-Judson G. 'No pink ribbons': how women’s lived experiences with breast atypia inform decisions involving risk-reducing medications. J Patient Cent Res Rev. 2018;5:158-66. doi: 10.17294/2330-0698.1594
Schneider S, Henchey E, Sultana N, Morin S, Jerry DJ, Makari-Judson G, Crisi M, Arenas A, Johnson M, Mason H, and Yadava N. Individual-specific variation in the respiratory activities of HMECs and their bioenergetic response to IGF1 and TNF alpha. Journal of Cellular Physiology 2017 DOI 10.1002/jcp.25932
Makari-Judson G, Loke C, Katz , Mertens W. Knowledge of Prior Treatments and Appreciation of Future Health Concerns in Breast Cancer Survivors. Journal of Oncology Navigation and Survivorship. 6:42-48 Oct 2015
Iacolo EK, Makari-Judson G, Mertens WC, Katz D, Sturgeon SR, Bigelow C, Reeves KW. Perceived recurrence risk and health behavior change among breast cancer survivors. Journal of Women’s Health and Gynecology.; 1:1-8. 2014
Contact Info

Hematology Oncology
Baystate Health Network
376 Birnie Avenue
Springfield, MA 01199

(413) 794-5433