• Researcher Profile

    Richard D. Gelber, PhD

    Richard D. Gelber, PhD
    Professor of Pediatrics (Biostatistics), Harvard Medical School
    Professor of Biostatistics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

    Office phone: 617-632-3603
    Fax: 617-632-2444
    Email: gelber@jimmy.harvard.edu

    Preferred contact method: office phone

    Research Department

    Biostatistics and Computational Biology

    Area of Research

    Q-TWiST, Quality-Adjusted Survival, Subpopulation Treatment Effect Pattern Plot (STEPP) and Breast Cancer Clinical Trials

    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    450 Brookline Avenue
    CLS 11072
    Boston, MA 02215


    Dr. Gelber received his PhD in operations research (major field: applied probability and statistics) from Cornell University in 1975. He has been at DFCI since 1977 and served as coordinating statistician for the DFCI Pediatric Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Consortium from 1977 to 2006 and statistical director of the Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group from 1988 to 1998. He has been the Statistical Director for the International Breast Cancer Study Group since 1978.  In 1993, he was elected a fellow of the American Statistical Association. In addition, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Medicine, University of Göteborg, Sweden in 1997.

    Recent Awards

    • ECCO (European CanCer Organisation) Clinical Research Award, 2011
    • St. Gallen Conference Breast Cancer Award, 2009
    • Susan G. Komen Foundation Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research, 2008
    • Jacqueline Seroussi Memorial Foundation for Cancer Research Award, 2005
    • European Institute of Oncology Award for Breast Cancer Research, 2002


    Q-TWiST, Quality-Adjusted Survival, Subpopulation Treatment Effect Pattern Plot (STEPP) and Breast Cancer Clinical Trials

    Dr. Gelber developed the Q-TWiST method (Quality-adjusted Time Without Symptoms of disease and Toxicity of treatment) for incorporating quality-of-life considerations into treatment comparisons. This quality-adjusted survival technique provides a framework to balance the benefits of disease control against the costs of treatment side effects using threshold utility analysis and patient preferences. He also created the STEPP method (Subpopulation Treatment Effect Pattern Plot) which uses data from randomized clinical trials to graphically illustrate the pattern of differences in treatment effectiveness as a function of a covariate of interest. Dr. Gelber has directed the Statistical Center for the International Breast Cancer Study Group (IBCSG) since 1978. This consortium of institutions conducts Phase III clinical trials for adjuvant therapy for breast cancer. In addition, he is the senior biostatistician for two three major studies of adjuvant treatment for HER2-positive breast cancer conducted by the Breast International Group (BIG: the HERA and, ALTTO and APHINITY trials).

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