Dr. Bruno is a medical oncologist and clinical researcher with a focus on lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies such as thymomas/thymic carcinomas as well as mesothelioma. As such, she conducts clinical trials investigating the safety and efficacy of new and promising therapies for those diseases, and is the institutional Principal Investigator of many NCI- and industry-sponsored studies at all phases of clinical drug development.
Participation in clinical trials is an opportunity for patients with cancer to receive not only therapies that are potentially more effective than current standard of care, but also to receive treatment under highly regulated protocols, a practice that likely enhances the quality of care delivered. Working tirelessly to promote the safe and efficient conduct of clinical research, Dr. Bruno is the Medical Director of the William T. Dahms Clinical Research Unit (DCRU) at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. As such, she is responsible for developing and sustaining a productive and effective clinical research unit that supports consortium-wide principal investigators in the process of discovery providing clinical research subjects with novel research studies.
The translational scientific nature of clinical studies goes beyond bridging bench to bedside research, as they may generate practice changing results requiring implementation in the “real world” and often lead to health disparities. Dr. Bruno is particularly interested in studying disparities in lung cancer treatment and developing interventions to overcome them. She has discovered the existence of racial disparities when it comes to comprehensive genomic testing for patients with advanced lung cancer throughout the US and demonstrated that biomarker and NGS testing are independently associated with clinical trial participation. She then proceeded to look at biomarker testing rates in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer throughout the US and found similar racial disparities as well as an independent impact of NGS testing and clinical trial participation. This is a particularly important finding that may explain in part racial inequities when it comes to representation in oncology clinical trials.
At University Hospitals, she has been responsible for developing and implementing a precision medicine service for all patients with advanced/metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. The ultimate goal of this project is to promote ample and equitable biomarker testing, targeted therapy use and clinical trial participation to all patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer treated at this large hybrid academic-community practice Institution. This quality improvement study/project launched in August 2021, leading to a significant increase not only in biomarker testing rates but also in the detection of genomic alterations that allow for the use of the most efficient targeted therapies. The project ultimately is the result of a close collaboration with University Hospitals Molecular Pathology Lab, diagnostic teams as well as Information Technology services and positively affects at large patients treated by community oncology providers. Since its launch, this service has identified clinical trial eligibility for the majority of the patients tested.
Dr. Bruno is the Co-Chair of the Case CCC Committee on Disparities in Clinical Research. This Committee is invested in assessing and addressing the barriers for achieving equitable representation of minority patients with cancer in all interventional studies at Case CCC.