Skip to main content

IU a leader in researching breast cancer origins, treatments


The road to a cure for breast cancer starts with learning how and why the disease develops. 

And at the IU School of Medicine, that critical mission received a further boost this month, with a  $2.2 million grant from the National Cancer Institute.

The award, alongside the strength of other generous public and private funding, is propelling our faculty researchers forward to advance in-depth knowledge and treatment methods, with the 1,300 discoveries regarding breast cancer published in peer review journals since 2004 just one indication of the team’s expertise and commitment.   

Researchers at the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center are directing this latest funding toward seeking better outcomes for patients by exploring the genetics that drive tumors – learning what makes tumors more susceptible to treatment and devising therapies to help defeat the most aggressive forms of breast cancer. Investigating how certain immune cells contribute to metastatic breast cancer development and how to stop it, the team under the leadership of Liz Yeh, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at IU School of Medicine and a cancer biologist with expertise in cellular transformation and experimental therapeutics, is working to interrupt the communication process between two cell types. 

In other work toward fighting one of the most common cancers among women, researchers at IU’s Vera Bradley Foundation Center for Breast Cancer Research are focused on understanding the earliest phase of breast cancer, with emphasis on how breast cells become cancerous. Harikrishna Nakshatri, Ph.D., the Marian J. Morrison Professor of Breast Cancer Research at IU School of Medicine and prominent breast cancer researcher, is performing leading-edge research in single-cell mapping of the normal breast of ethnically diverse populations. His work harnesses the resources of the Komen Tissue Bank, using normal breast tissue from the bank to compare it to the different types of breast cancer, to help better understand the earliest stages of the disease.

Recognizing October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, IU’s research focused on treatments is especially inspiring and I appreciate the conviction of our breast cancer researchers and their teams toward seeking cures and treatments.


Pamela Whitten

Indiana University

See the latest presidential news