The goal of the Breast Cancer Program (BCP) is to facilitate the interactions of individuals concerned with studies on breast development and cancer. The goals of BCP members are to advance understanding of the mechanisms of breast cancer development and to translate information from the bench to the bedside. The BCP program has 24 members with their primary appointments in several departments at BCM, including the Breast Center, Medicine, Pathology, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Surgery, and Radiology. The BCP program has $5,757,823 in support from NCI and $9,143,556 in total peer reviewed support. Members of the program published 170 publications in 2006-2009, of which 24% represented intraprogrammatic collaborations and 30% interprogrammatic collaborations. Research in the basic sciences focuses on several themes, which include mechanisms of hormone and growth factor resistance, breast cancer stem cells, signaling networks in normal and breast cancer development, premalignant progression, and mechanisms of prevention of mammary carcinogenesis. The clinical/translational programs are multiple and supported in part by an NCI-funded Breast SPORE, which comprises five research projects. Other translational projects include the Stand Up 2 Cancer Program, a large multi-center study to molecularly subtype breast cancers with the goal to discover new therapeutic targets, a Komen Promise grant to discover new therapeutic targets involved in growth of ER-negative breast cancer and conduct clinical trials on the new targets, the Pan American Clinical Trials Network and several studies on gene signatures that predict prognosis. Clinical research is performed in the outpatient facilities of The Baylor Clinic and Ben Taub Hospital. Approximately 600 new breast cancer patients are seen yearly. Clinical members of the BCP are members and leaders in the NSABP and SWOG. There are 19 investigator-initiated clinical trials involve ER/growth factor crosstalk, targeting the HER/2 pathway, gene signatures predicting treatment response, and psychosocial/quality of life issues. Program interactions exist at multiple levels and include intra- and interprogrammatic research collaborations, research interactions with industry, educational activities and community outreach programs, patient advocate programs, and regularly scheduled research meetings and seminars. The program leaders are Daniel Medina, Ph.D., and Jenny C. N. Chang, M.D.
The aims of the basic and translational experiments proposed are directly related to understanding the development, progression, and treatment of breast cancer, which is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women in the USA. Basic research on the mechanisms of tumor resistance to hormonal or growth factor targeted therapy is translated into clinical trials. Similarly, the identification of cancer stem cells in preclinical models is translated into clinical studies evaluating the role of stem cells in therapeutic resistance.
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