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Harrington-Rhoads Associate Professor in Surgery: Brian Czerniecki

September 27, 2011, Volume 58, No. 03

Dr. Brian J. Czerniecki, has been named the Harrington-Rhoads Associate Professor in Surgery. The chair was created thanks to the generosity of Dolores Harrington and the Mark H. and Blanche M. Harrington Foundation.

Dr. Czerniecki also currently serves as co-director of the Rena Rowan Breast Center and is Surgical Director of the Immunotherapy Program at the Abramson Cancer Center.

Dr. Czerniecki received his medical degree at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and his doctoral degree at Rutgers University and the Johnson Medical School. He completed his internship and residency at Ohio State University and performed a Fellowship in Surgical Oncology at the National Cancer Institute. He was Lieutenant Commander for the US Public Health Service at the National Institutes of Health. After serving as clinical instructor in the department of surgery at Ohio State University, he joined the faculty of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine in 1995. He helped establish and currently directs the Breast Cancer Fellowship Program at Penn Medicine.

Dr. Czerniecki has a dual role as surgeon and researcher, and maintains an active clinical practice specializing in diseases of the breast. He has been recognized by the National Cancer Institute as an expert in the management of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which is early stage breast cancer. Dr. Czerniecki has served on several National Institutes of Health panels that have developed recommendations for the treatment of DCIS.

Currently, he is developing a breakthrough vaccine—which targets a protein, called HER-2/neu, that is over-expressed in DCIS—that is entering Phase II clinical trials. By treating specialized white blood cells that play a major role in activating immune response with the HER-2/neu protein, the vaccine successfully harnesses a patient’s own immune system to fight DCIS. He has also been recognized nationally for pioneering several protocols for sentinel node mapping in breast cancer and melanoma—a less invasive procedure than diagnostic surgery for determining the spread of cancer into lymph nodes.

Dr. Czerneicki is a member of many medical societies, including the American Society of Breast Surgeons, the American Association for Cancer Research, the American College of Surgeons, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the International Society of Biologic Therapy. He is also a member of the Leukemia Immunobiology Review Committee of the American Cancer Society. Widely sought for his expertise, he has moderated sessions for the Society of University Surgeons, Society of Surgical Oncology, and the American College of Surgeons.

Almanac - September 27, 2011, Volume 58, No. 03