Timothy Whelan

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Dr. Timothy Whelan  first came to Hamilton to pursue research training twenty years ago and has remained ever since. He holds a Canada Research Chair and is truly one of our stars. He has had a long distinguished career.   As a radiation oncologist specializing in breast cancer, he knows that every case is unique, and every patient’s priorities are different.  He has led numerous, innovative studies that have focused on  patient decision making for treatment. For example, he led the development and assessment of decision aids that are used by breast cancer patients and physicians at times when critical treatment choices need to be made. In clinical trials, his work has focused on evaluating the duration and intensity of radiation treatment for breast cancer patients. Amongst other findings, he has shown that shorter radiation treatment regimens can be just as effective as longer regimens in women who have undergone lumpectomy for breast cancer.  Recently, Dr. Whelan has extended his research to collaborate with colleagues in the laboratory to identify and evaluate biomarkers, which can potentially predict responsiveness of breast tumors to radiotherapy – another strategy aimed at improving treatment decisions. “I am thankful that we have been able to make a difference,” says Dr. Whelan. “The Escarpment Cancer Research Institute is a special opportunity for people with different interests and expertise to work together and perform even better research than we have done so far.”

Key Publications:

Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Collaborative Group (EBCTCG) (Whelan T, writing committee). Effect of radiotherapy after mastectomy and axillary surgery on 10-year recurrence and 20-year breast cancer mortality: meta-analysis of individual patient data for 8135 women in 22 randomised trials. Lancet 2014; 383(9935):2127-35.

Bane AL, Whelan TJ, Pond GR, Parpia S, Gohla G, Fyles AW, Pignol JP, Pritchard KI, Chambers S, Levine MN. Tumor factors predictive of response to hypofractionated radiotherapy in a randomized trial following breast conserving therapy.  Ann Oncol 2014; 25(5):992-8.

Olivotto IA, Whelan TJ, Parpia S, Kim D-H, Berrang T, Truong P, Kong I, Cochrane B, Nichol A, Roy I, Germain I, Akra M, Reed M, Fyles A, Trotter T, Perera F, Beckham W, Levine M, Julian J, on behalf of the RAPID Trial investigators.  Interim cosmetic and toxicity results from RAPID: A randomized trial of accelerated partial breast irradiation using 3D conformal external beam radiation therapy.  Journal of Clinical Oncology 2013; 31(32):4038-45.

Whelan TJ, Pignol JP, Levine M, Julian JA, MacKenzie R, Parpia S, Shelley W, Grimard L, Bowen J, Lukka H, Perera F, Fyles A, Schneider K, Gulavita S, Freeman C.  Long-term results of hypofractionated radiation therapy for early breast cancer.  New England Journal of Medicine 2010; 362(6):513-20.