José Alejandro Rauh-Hain, M.D.

Associate Professor

Project Title

IGNITE-TX (Identifying Individuals for Genetic Testing & Treatment)

Named Award

In honor of Bernard Levin, M.D., FACP, professor emeritus of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center


Associate Professor


MD Anderson, Houston, Texas

My “Why”

My interest in cancer research stems from a combination of clinical experience and a passion for addressing health care disparities. As a gynecologic oncologist and researcher, I have a unique perspective on the quality of care for women with cancer. I am driven to examine and reduce disparities in gynecologic cancer care through real-world research studies.

I aspire to lead a research program focused on reducing disparities in cancer care delivery, particularly in genetic testing and risk-reducing interventions for underserved populations, ultimately improving patient outcomes.

My Mission

I am passionate about cancer prevention and early detection because it aligns with my mission to make a meaningful impact on health care disparities. Throughout my career, I have witnessed the devastating consequences of late-stage cancer diagnoses, especially among medically underserved populations.

Cancer prevention and early detection can be lifesaving and can significantly improve patient outcomes. I aim to develop strategies and interventions that address the unique challenges faced by medically underserved communities, ultimately reducing cancer mortality rates and improving the quality of life for those at increased risk.

Research Overview

The IGNITE-TX (Identifying Individuals for Genetic Testing & Treatment) project is focused on hereditary cancer syndromes, such as Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) Syndrome and Lynch Syndrome (LS). These inherited syndromes significantly elevate a person’s lifetime cancer risk, necessitating early and frequent cancer screening and sometimes risk-reducing surgeries like mastectomies. Cascade genetic testing is a powerful tool to identify those more likely to have inherited cancer syndromes and guide preventive measures.

The primary objective of this study is to engage and support a diverse population to increase the identification of people with known HBOC or LS and their at-risk relatives, while eliminating obstacles for them to access cascade genetic testing through the IGNITE-TX intervention.

IGNITE-TX aims to assist families dealing with HBOC and LS by effectively identifying and communicating with at-risk relatives, providing education about hereditary cancer syndromes and genetic testing as a pathway to cancer prevention, and offering patient navigation and creating personalized plans. Additionally, the project aims to implement systematic tracking of cascade genetic testing progress and to assess the effectiveness of IGNITE-TX through a randomized controlled trial comparing four interventions: usual care, free genetic counseling and testing, IGNITE-TX and IGNITE-TX combined with free genetic counseling and testing.

Why Funding Matters

Funding from the Prevent Cancer Foundation is integral to the success of IGNITE-TX, our initiative focused on hereditary cancer syndromes such as Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome and Lynch Syndrome.

Funding is pivotal in turning our vision into a reality, benefiting countless people trying to stay ahead of hereditary cancers. We anticipate the most profound outcome will be saving lives by identifying high-risk individuals and guiding them toward timely interventions, thus reducing cancer-related morbidity and mortality.

My Hope

Through IGNITE-TX, my hope is to achieve a series of significant outcomes, including a notable increase in cascade genetic testing adoption among at-risk relatives, empowering them to make informed decisions about cancer prevention.

By focusing on medically underserved populations, we hope to diminish disparities in cancer care delivery, bridging the gap in access to genetic testing and preventive measures. The success of IGNITE-TX can serve as a scalable model for similar initiatives nationwide, amplifying the impact of improving access to genetic testing and preventive interventions.