Dr.Rafael Béjar, a world expert in the study of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), visits the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute
"Treatment for patients with MDS is becoming more and more personalised. In the coming years we are going to see more emphasis on the genetic mutations associated with MDS. Every patient has a different pattern of mutations and these mutations can be used to indicate how the patient should be treated. The mutations can be used to establish the diagnosis, determine the prognosis and to predict which therapies will be the most efficacious."
Today it is our great pleasure to welcome Dr. Rafael Béjar to the Catalan Institute for Oncology/Germans Trias i Pujol Campus of the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute (IJC).Dr. Rafael Béjar is an internationally renowned expert in the study of myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and works at the University of California, San Diego, where he has set up a centre of excellence in this field based on bringing together the best diagnostic tools, health-care practice, clinical trials and medical experience under the same roof.
On 8 March Dr. Béjar gave a talk at our centre.
As well as tending to patients, Dr. Rafael Béjar carries out scientific research programmes focussed on the study of myelodysplastic syndromes to discover which of the disease's characteristics can be used to personalise treatment for patients, the aim being both to prolong life and to find a cure.
He has published key articles in the New England Journal and the Journal of Clinical Oncology in which he examines the genetic changes that lead to the development of MDS. His efforts have led to the development of clinical trials with mutations that help formulate a prognosis and which assist in the choice of individualised treatments for patients.
Dr. Béjar finished his medical internship at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston where he later held a number of senior posts. He was awarded a grant for hematology and oncology at the highly renowned Dana–Farber Cancer Institute. Having graduated as a doctor he undertook his doctoral studies at the University of California, San Diego.
When he's not working Dr. Béjar likes to spend time with his wife and three children. He's also a keen cyclist and he likes diving off the San Diego coastline.
We wanted to ask Dr. Béjar more about current challenges in the field of research into myelodysplastic syndromes.
Dr. Bejar with Dr. Francesc Solé, scientific director of the ICO-Germans Trias i Pujol Campus of the IJC and director of myelodysplastic syndromes research group and Vera Ademà, IJC myelodysplastic syndromes group researcher.