Robert W. Mutter, M.D., investigates ways to enhance the efficacy of radiotherapy in patients with resistant breast cancer (residual breast cancer after preoperative chemotherapy) through an improved understanding of breast cancer biology and DNA repair.
Dr. Mutter also studies particle therapy from multiple points of view, including identifying patients most likely to benefit, optimizing combined modality therapy, integrating proton therapy with breast reconstruction, and tailoring fractionation schedules and delivery to reduce the side effects of treatment.
- Discovery of novel radiosensitizing targets for high-risk breast cancer. Dr. Mutter's laboratory focuses on identifying novel therapeutic targets that manipulate the DNA damage response of breast cancer cells in order to overcome treatment resistance. He also investigates biomarkers of response in order to select the right patients for each approach.
- Particle therapy for breast cancer. Dr. Mutter leads clinical trials investigating pencil-beam scanning proton therapy, a technology that reduces exposure to the heart, lungs and other soft tissues, for early-stage and locally advanced breast cancer. In addition, his laboratory studies how differences in the response of cancer cells to DNA damage can be exploited by particle therapy to improve the therapeutic ratio, including how best to combine proton therapy with new biologically targeted agents.
- Novel fractionation schedules. Dr. Mutter designs novel fractionation schedules for patients with breast cancer treated with photons, protons and brachytherapy in order to reduce the side effects of treatment and minimize the inconvenience and cost of cancer care.
- Radiotherapy and breast reconstruction. Dr. Mutter specializes in the multidisciplinary care and delivery of radiotherapy in women with breast reconstruction after mastectomy. He studies ways to deliver breast cancer radiotherapy with less exposure to normal tissues, less toxicity to the reconstruction and improved outcomes.
Significance to patient care
As both a translational scientist and radiation oncologist, Dr. Mutter aims to integrate new biologic approaches with highly targeted forms of radiotherapy in order to improve cure rates in women with high-risk breast cancer. He also hopes that optimizing radiotherapy fractionation schedules and improving radiotherapy delivery will minimize late side effects of treatment in the future.
- Recipient, Halt Cancer at X Foundation Award, 2017
- Recipient, Junior Faculty Award, American Society for Radiation Oncology, 2015
- Recipient, Career Enhancement Award, Breast Cancer Specialized Program of Research Excellence, Mayo Clinic, 2015
- Leader, Mayo Clinic Radiation Oncology Breast Cancer Disease Site Group, 2015
- Chief resident, Department of Radiation Oncology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 2011