Rafael Bejar, MD, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA, and Medical Oncologist/Hematologist at UC San Diego Health. Dr Bejar is a renowned expert, specializing in patient care and research in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). His work has seen UC San Diego Health recognized as an MDS Center of Excellence, providing leading diagnostics, medical care and clinical trials. As a talented physician-scientist, Dr Bejar is responsible for running a research lab focused on identifying genomic and biologic features of MDS and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and their clinical translation into improved personalized care for patients.
Dr Bejar carried out his medical degree and PhD at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, before undertaking an internal medicine residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, and fellowship training in hematology/oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA. His record of innovation is reflected by his extensive publication record, including key papers in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of Clinical Oncology that examined genomic drivers, prognostic genes and genes explaining heterogeneity in MDS. Dr Bejar is also the Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President at Aptose Biosciences, where he aids in the clinical development of hematologic product candidates.
Speaking on targeted therapies for MDS
Dr Bejar has a keen interest in personalized therapy for MDS. His work aims to establish a comprehensive picture of the genomic alterations driving development and progression in MDS, and how these can be used as prognostic and predictive biomarkers. Dr Bejar’s research efforts have developed mutational tests that aid prognostication and treatment individualization. He hopes that understanding the role of various mutations and implementing clinical bone marrow sequencing will enable better care for patients with MDS. Currently, he is focused on understanding the association between acquired mutations and treatment response in MDS.