June 7, 2023
Reston, Virginia—The SNMMI Mars Shot Research Fund is excited to announce that Randy Yeh, MD, a radiologist and nuclear medicine physician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and assistant professor of radiology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, has been selected as the recipient of a $500,000 grant from the 2023 Mars Shot Fund. The grants recognize individuals who have made transformative impact in the field and elevated the value of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging.
|Randy Yeh, MD|
The grant is one of five awarded in the inaugural year of the new SNMMI Mars Shot Research Fund, which was established to provide resources that translate visionary nuclear medicine imaging, radiopharmaceutical therapy and data science research or projects into tools or treatments that will help improve the lives of patients.
Yeh’s Mars Shot grant was awarded based on his proposal, “HER2 PET Imaging to Assess HER2 Heterogeneity and Predict Response to Trastuzumab-Deruxtecan in HER2-low Breast Cancer.”
HER2-low breast cancer is very common and accounts for as much as 50%-60% of all patients with breast cancer. Trastuzumab-deruxtecan (T-DXd) has led to a major paradigm shift in treatment, with risk of disease progression approximately 50% lower and risk of death 36% lower compared to chemotherapy.
While these results are very exciting, half of patients will not respond. Emerging evidence suggests T-DXd response may correlate with immunohistochemistry (IHC) scoring, with better response in higher scores; however, IHC does not capture HER2 intertumoral heterogeneity across metastatic tumor sites.
“To address this important clinical need, we propose performing HER2 PET imaging using site-specifically labeled Zr-pertuzumab (89Zr-ss-pertuzumab) to assess HER2 expression heterogeneity in HER2-low mBC patients,” Yeh said. “We hypothesize that this PET radiotracer will allow for a noninvasive and quantitative method to determine HER2 expression and intertumoral HER2 heterogeneity, allowing for accurate prediction of which patients will or will not respond to T-DXd therapy. This could potentially improve patient outcomes and enhance quality of life.”
Yeh is a diagnostic radiologist and nuclear medicine physician who specializes in molecular imaging for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. His scientific interest is in cancer biology and pathophysiology and the implementation of imaging techniques to better target disease mechanisms and improve the care of cancer patients. He received his MD from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and completed his residency in diagnostic radiology and a fellowship in molecular imaging and nuclear medicine at Columbia University Medical Center/New York Presbyterian Hospital. He is board certified in Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine.
About the SNMMI Mars Shot Research Fund
The ‘Mars Shot for Nuclear Medicine, Molecular Imaging, and Molecularly Targeted Radiopharmaceutical Therapy’ is a forward-looking glimpse into the future of nuclear medicine. Its goal is to provide resources for the translation of visionary nuclear medicine imaging, radiopharmaceutical therapy, and data science research or projects into tools or treatments helping improve the lives of patients.
About the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) is an international scientific and medical organization dedicated to advancing nuclear medicine and molecular imaging, vital elements of precision medicine that allow diagnosis and treatment to be tailored to individual patients in order to achieve the best possible outcomes.
SNMMI’s members set the standard for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine practice by creating guidelines, sharing information through journals and meetings and leading advocacy on key issues that affect molecular imaging and therapy research and practice. For more information, visit www.snmmi.org.