The overall goal of the Biology of Breast Cancer (BBC) Program is to bring together multidisciplinary expertise for collaborative discovery of molecular alterations and signatures of breast cancer and to translate these findings into new strategies for effective detection, diagnosis, and treatment Central thematic aims are 1) Exploit hormonal pathways in preclinical models for molecular target identification and new strategies for therapy and prevention;2) Improve diagnostic tumor classification and establish new prognostic and predictive molecular signatures to facilitate tailored treatment;3} Develop innovative strategies and technologies for early detection of cancer and for monitoring of therapy response and disease recurrence. The BBC Program is the renamed continuation of the Endocrine Mechanisms and Hormone Action in Cancer (EMHAC) Program, funded since 2007. During the first four years the EMHAC program grew by successful external recruitment and internal mentored development of junior faculty, with total peer-reviewed funding rising from $4.2 million to $9.3 million in 2011. This growth ofthe EMHAC Program, with a number of productive and leading investigators studying breast cancer or prostate cancer, allowed KCC to strategically split off a subgroup of investigators to form the new Biology of Prostate Cancer (BPC) Program in 2011. Current BBC Program members have authored more than 400 publications between 2007 and 2012, including publications in high impact journals such as Cell, Science, JCO, JNCI, Mol Cell, JCI, MCB, and PNAS. Collaborative interactions by BBC members have been high during the past funding period as documented by 45% intra-programmatic and 28% inter-programmatic publications. The BBC program includes seventeen members from 10 departments and three schools at TJU and Drexel. Dr. Hallgeir Rui (Cancer Biology) has served as Program Leader since 2006, and Dr. Russell Schilder (Medical Oncology) was recruited as Co-Leader in 2011. A series of collaborative and interdisciplinary program initiatives have been supported by extensive cancer center pilot funding. Current annual peer-reviewed program funding of BBC members totals $5.9 million with NCI funding of $ 3.8 million. Multi-investigator grants, including a 5-year Komen Promise program grant for therapy-relevant stratification of breast cancer patients, extensive program meetings, and a high proportion of programmatic collaborative publications attest to successful program activities and interactions.

Public Health Relevance

Each year 1.3 million new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed worldwide and nearly half a million women die from breast cancer. The members of the BBC Program jointly provide critical strength in laboratory and patient-oriented research on breast cancer, with emerging expertise in related malignancies of other hormone responsive female reproductive organs such as uterus and ovaries. Collaborative efforts will translate cancer biology, molecular profiling, and patient characteristics into more effective and individualized care.

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