INTERVIEW: Dr. Cinta Albacar, Hospital Universitari Sant Joan de Reus
We start a New Year in a spirit of hope for the many breast cancer patients and their families. Today, we are very happy to share a brief interview with Dr. Cinta Albacar, from the Sant Joan de Reus Hospital, and know more information about her and her collaboration with MedSIR in the MedOPP096-PHERGain trial. Thank you, Dr. Albacar, for this interview.
MedSIR: What brought you to Breast Cancer Oncology?
Dr. Cinta Albacar (CA): I started with a substitution of a breast cancer oncologist, and gradually I accumulated patients. I ended up dedicating myself entirely to breast cancer. I always have liked this part of oncology and also spent much more time studying this pathology.
MedSIR: You are currently working in the position of an Oncologist at the Hospital Universitari Sant Joan de Reus. How did you get here? What were your career steps?
CA: I studied Medicine in the Universitat de Barcelona (UB) at the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona. Then I started my residence at the Hospital Universitari Sant Joan de Reus and I was lucky to be able to stay when I finished it. It is a regional hospital with a large number of breast cancer patients since we visit around 350 new patients with breast cancer per year.
MedSIR: Your specialty is Breast Cancer. What are the most recent advances in this area that you think will take us towards better outcomes?
CA: In recent years, significant advances have been made in breast cancer, which has changed the usual practice so far. I would highlight cyclin inhibitory drugs in metastatic breast cancer, immunotherapy in triple negative breast cancer, and anti-HER-2 in HER2+ breast cancer.
MedSIR: Let’s focus more on the PHERGain study. As Principal Investigator in your hospital, what do you think about its study design? What benefits have the patients participating in this study?
CA: I think this is a very promising study with very good goals. Patients who participated in the study had the opportunity to assess the early metabolic effects of neoadjuvant treatment with trastuzumab and pertuzumab (+/- endocrine treatment) on the primary tumor and axillary lymph nodes, thus avoiding chemotherapy in those PET responders patients who achieved a pCR (ypT0 / is N =) at the time of surgery. Obviously, being able to select these patients was an essential milestone.
MedSIR: Recruitment in PHERGain study is very high at your site. What do you think about the study design and objectives? Did you find some difficulties in terms of screening? Would you recommend any protocol changes?
CA: : I think the study was very well designed and that is why we had no difficulty in finding candidate patients. Both the centrally confirmed HER2-positive disease in the initial biopsy and the PET in the external center have been fast, which has facilitated the randomization and initiation of treatment in an agile manner.
MedSIR: What is your personal view of MedSIR and our vision of clinical research? How would you describe in few words your experience working with us?
CA: Working with MedSIR has been very easy because any concerns or doubts we have had about the recruitment, treatment or monitoring process, they have been solved immediately. There has been direct and close contact, and this has facilitated the whole process.
MedSIR: Lastly, what message of hope would you give to the many breast cancer patients and their families? What are the near-future goals that you would like to see reached?
CA: Thanks to ongoing research in breast cancer, there are more and more developments in the diagnosis and treatment of this disease, making the prognosis better every day. Obviously, there is still work to be done and that is why it is so important the work and also the joint efforts of the different professionals involved in this field.