$1 Million Grant for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center
DALLAS – April 29, 2009 –
Thanks to a second $1 million research grant from the world’s largest breast cancer organization, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center, named for its funder, will continue its unique mission to collect and share healthy breast tissue specimens with researchers worldwide to help understand how breast cells turn cancerous.
It is the nation’s first and only healthy breast tissue bank, and this year’s grant from Susan G. Komen for the Cure will allow the bank to add to its tissue collection from more than 450 women and blood samples from more than 4,500.
"We are the only collection of this much normal tissue in the world," said Anna Maria Storniolo, M.D., co-principal investigator of the Komen Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center. "There's no question that is a unique and incredibly precious resource."
Just over a year ago, Komen for the Cure provided its first $1 million research grant to help the tissue bank get started. Researchers from across the country, from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Walter Reed Medical Army Institute, already are using specimens from the bank.
“In breast cancer, in order to figure out what is abnormal, you have to be able to compare it to normal. So because of that, the normal controls from the Komen Tissue Bank are incredibly important,” said Storniolo .
“Research studies help us do more than develop new treatments. They also advance our understanding of how breast cancer develops in the first place, which can lead to new ways to detect or prevent the disease. This tissue bank is a unique opportunity for women to participate in and contribute to the research process,” said Diana Rowden, vice president of health sciences at Komen.
Gaining better understanding of the disease
By collecting blood and tissue from women with and without breast cancer, researchers will be able to determine the differences between these populations, which could lead to a better understanding of the disease. Blood and tissue samples taken from women without the disease are especially helpful because there are few collections of so-called "normal" specimens.
In order to identify the changes cells undergo as they transition from normal to malignant, and to detect the earliest indication of malignant transformation, it is vital to obtain and study "true normal" breast cells.
In 2009, the Komen Tissue Bank will be holding five tissue collection events as well as one large blood collection, which will be at the Komen Evansville Race for the Cure® on Sept. 19.
Susan G Komen for the Cure is the largest single nonprofit funder of breast cancer research. This year alone, Komen funds are supporting $60 million worth of research programs throughout the United States and in one foreign country.
For more information about the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center, its history and plans for the future, please visit www.komentissuebank.iu.edu.