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New Clinician Spotlight: Laura Kennedy

Apr. 16, 2021, 9:53 AM

Laura Kennedy, MD, PhD

Laura Kennedy, MD, PhD, has joined Vanderbilt University Medical Center from the University of Washington School of Medicine/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle where she was acting instructor and research associate.

Kennedy, a board-certified medical oncologist, began seeing patients in the Vanderbilt Breast Center in July. She is developing clinical trials to identify biomarkers of the breast cancer immune response.

“Dr. Kennedy has a unique perspective into how unmet needs in breast oncology can be addressed from the lens of a lab researcher,” said Ben Ho Park, MD, PhD, professor of Medicine, the Donna S. Hall Professor of Breast Cancer Research and director of the Division of Hematology and Oncology.

“She has already been nationally recognized for her work in breast cancer research,” Park said. “We look forward to her future success in developing predictive and prognostic biomarkers for breast cancer therapy.”

Kennedy’s clinical interests include how the immune system can influence the breast cancer response to therapy. Her research interests include minimally invasive strategies to predict the response of the tumor microenvironment to immune treatments such as trastuzumab.

“My main goal is to develop tools that will allow clinicians to personalize cancer treatment for an individual patient,” she said. “By choosing the ‘right’ therapy, we can cure more breast cancers while minimizing treatment side effects as much as possible.”

Kennedy received her bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Chemical Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park. She earned a PhD in Bioengineering from Rice University while working toward her MD in the Medical Scientist Training Program at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

She completed internal medicine residency training at the University of Washington and a hematology-oncology fellowshiip at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Patients can be referred to Dr. Kennedy by calling the Vanderbilt Breast Center at 615-322-2064.

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