Ana Barac

ana-barac

Ana Barac, MD PhD is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Georgetown University and the director of the MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute's Cardio-Oncology program. Her clinical and research interests focus on the mechanisms, diagnosis and treatment of cardiac complications of cancer therapies.

Dr. Barac has background in basic science research on signaling pathways and was a visiting research fellow at the National Institutes of Health.  In 2013 she was awarded a KL2 Scholar Award from the Georgetown-Howard Universities Center for Clinical and Translational Science for investigation of cardiac function in women, BRCA-mutation carriers who were treated with anthracyclines.

Dr. Barac is internationally recognized for her work on cardiovascular health in patients with cancer. She is the current and founding Chair of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Cardio-Oncology Council. She also serves as the co-director of the ACC's annual Live Course on Advancing Cardiovascular Care in Oncology patient and was the chair of the Heart House Roundtable on Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer Treatment in February 2018.

Dr. Barac serves as the cardiology principal investigator (PI) for the SAFE-HEaRt trial, investigator-initiated study that investigates safety of HER2 targeted therapies in patients with HER2 positive breast cancer and reduced cardiac function.

She is a diplomate in Cardiovascular Disease and has Advanced training in Cardiac Imaging, Echocardiography and Cardiac MRI.

Dr. Barac earned a medical degree from the University of Zagreb Medical School and a PhD in Biomedicine from the University of Split, both in Croatia. She completed an internship and residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Cardiovascular Diseases at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital/MedStar Washington Hospital Center. She is fluent in English, Italian, Spanish and Croatian.

Research Interests

Dr. Barac's research interests include

  • Effects of cancer therapies on the heart
  • Predictors of cardiac dysfunction in patients undergoing cancer therapies
  • Echocardiographic measures of subclinical cardiac dysfunction
  • Cardiac MRI

Selected Research

Original Research in the field of Cardiovascular Complications of Cancer Therapies.
In partnership with oncologists from the Washington Cancer Institute and Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Dr. Barac has developed a research program in cardio-oncology that focuses on the cardiac complications of cancer therapies. She is the cardiology principal investigator for two ongoing investigator-initiated studies that focus on the cardiac effects of therapies used to treat breast cancer.

Cardiac function in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers with history of breast cancer treated with anthracyclines.
Barac A, Lynce F, Smith KL, Mete M, Shara NM, Asch FM, Nardacci MP, Wray L, Herbolsheimer P, Nunes RA, Swain SM, Warren R, Peshkin BN, Isaacs C. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2016 Jan;155(2):285-93. doi: 10.1007/s10549-016-3678-2. Epub 2016 Jan 9. PMID: 26749359
This study was based on basic research and animal data that suggested that BRCA mutation may predispose patients to increased risk of cardiac dysfunction. Our research demonstrated that in women who are BRCA carriers and do not have cardiovascular risk factors, such as hypertension or diabetes, anthracyclines do not pose risk of cardiac injury.

SAFE-HEaRt: Rationale and Design of a Pilot Study Investigating Cardiac Safety of HER2 Targeted Therapy in Patients with HER2-Positive Breast Cancer and Reduced Left Ventricular Function. 
Lynce F, Barac A, Tan MT, Asch FM, Smith KL, Dang C, Isaacs C, Swain SM. Oncologist. 2017 May;22(5):518-525. doi: 10.1634/theoncologist.2016-0412. Epub 2017 Mar 17 PMID: 28314836.
This clinical trial investigates hypothesis that patients with heart dysfunction may safely receive HER2 targeted therapies (such as trastuzumab, pertuzumab and T-DM1) if they are closely monitored and at the same time treated with cardiac medications.  

Cardiometabolic risk factors and survival after breast cancer in the Women's Health Initiative. 
Simon MS, Beebe-Dimmer JL, Hastert TA, Manson JE, Cespedes Feliciano EM, Neuhouser ML, Ho GYF, Freudenheim JL, Strickler H, Ruterbusch J, Barac A, Chlebowski R, Caan B. Cancer. 2018 Apr 15;124(8):1798-1807. doi: 10.1002/cncr.31230. Epub 2018 Jan 16. PMID: 29338086.
In collaboration with the researchers from Women's Heart Initiative Dr. Barac is investigating common risk factors for cardiovascular disease and breast cancer.

Contributions to Guidelines and Expert Consensus Statements.

Cardio-oncology is a rapidly growing fields that is centered on collaboration among cardiology and oncology specialists. Examples of the most recent professional societies recommendations that have been implemented within MedStar's Cardio-oncology Program are listed here:

Cardiovascular Disease and Breast Cancer: Where These Entities Intersect: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. 
Mehta LS, Watson KE, Barac A, Beckie TM, Bittner V, Cruz-Flores S, Dent S, Kondapalli L, Ky B, Okwuosa T, Piña IL, Volgman AS; American Heart Association Cardiovascular Disease in Women and Special Populations Committee of the Council on Clinical Cardiology; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; and Council on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research.  Circulation. 2018 Feb 20;137(8):e30-e66.

Prevention and Monitoring of Cardiac Dysfunction in Survivors of Adult Cancers: American Society of Clinical Oncology Clinical Practice Guideline.  Armenian SH, Lacchetti C, Barac A, Carver J, Constine LS, Denduluri N, Dent S, Douglas PS, Durand JB, Ewer M, Fabian C, Hudson M, Jessup M, Jones LW, Ky B, Mayer EL, Moslehi J, Oeffinger K, Ray K, Ruddy K, Lenihan D.  J Clin Oncol. 2017 Mar 10;35(8):893-911

Expert consensus for multimodality imaging evaluation of adult patients during and after cancer therapy: a report from the American Society of Echocardiography and the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging.  Plana JC, Galderisi M, Barac A, Ewer MS, Ky B, Scherrer-Crosbie M, Ganame J, Sebag IA, Agler DA, Badano LP, Banchs J, Cardinale D, Carver J, Cerqueira M, DeCara JM, Edvardsen T, Flamm SD, Force T, Griffin BP, Jerusalem G, Liu JE, Magalhães A, Marwick T, Sanchez LY, Sicari R, Villarraga HR, Lancellotti P.  J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2014 Sep;27(9):911-39.

 

View Dr. Barac's publications on PubMed

  • Research Areas
  • Cardiovascular