IU Cancer Center beneficiary of Susan G. Komen for the Cure Support
A unique tissue bank at the Indiana University Cancer Center has received a $1 million boost from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Research Grants and Awards Program.
The funding supports the expansion of a local tissue bank into a national repository for tissue from women without breast cancer. It is made available to scientists who are seeking to identify risk factors and biomarkers by comparing normal and cancerous tissue.
"I am thrilled that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization has earmarked $1 million to expand Mary Ellen's Tissue Bank into a national resource," said bank director Anna Maria Storniolo, M.D., director of the Catherine Peachey Breast Cancer Prevention Program at the IU Cancer Center and a professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine. "Their support is the first step in enabling the tissue bank and its corresponding annotation database to become a nationwide resource for breast cancer researchers. This is not only great news for our cancer center and the School of Medicine, but also, and most importantly, for the field of breast cancer research and treatment." The database is managed by Susan Clare, M.D., Ph.D., IU assistant professor of surgery.
The tissue bank addresses a critical barrier to research that was identified by the National Cancer Institute, according to Komen officials. The expanded bank will serve as a unique resource for the collection and safekeeping of normal breast tissue from women without breast cancer, which is critical for the advancement of breast cancer research.
About 2,500 women locally have donated to Mary Ellen's Tissue Bank. In 2005 and 2006, during the Komen Race for the Cure on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus, a mass appeal was made to women to donate a small sample of blood for cancer research. These blood drives and several smaller collections of blood, saliva – a good source of DNA – and tissue have amassed the largest national collection of non-cancerous biological tissue and blood, according to Dr. Storniolo.
Mary Ellen's Tissue Bank, named after an Indianapolis woman who died of breast cancer at the age of 37 in October 2002, was the out-growth of an annual one-day statewide conference for cancer physicians and researchers. The conference is supported by the Indianapolis affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Catherine Peachey Fund in Warsaw, Ind.
The grant to the IU Cancer Center was one of nearly $82 million in scientific research grants announced this week by the Komen for the Cure global breast cancer movement.
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