With Breast Cancer Awareness Month upon us, Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center’s scientists and physician-scientists are available to offer expertise in breast cancer research. Below are a few of the experts. Additionally, IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center and IU School of Medicine are home to the world’s only collection of healthy breast tissue. Learn more about the tissue bank below.  

Tarah Ballinger, M.D., focuses her research on understanding the relationship between physical activity and body composition—including bone, muscle, and fat tissue—with cancer incidence, outcomes, and side effects of cancer directed therapies, especially among  breast cancer patients.

Xiongbin Lu, Ph.D., searches for genetic flaws in and around breast tumors that can be exploited for new ways to treat breast cancer. He also studies the root causes of why cancer therapy stops working and collaborates with other researchers to develop nano-therapies that target microscopic and resistant cancer.

Kathy Miller, M.D., is a leading physician-scientist who designs clinical trials to improve the quality and length of breast cancer patients’ lives.

Harikrishna Nakshatri, Ph.D., investigates how and why breast cancers recur in women within 10 to 15 years of initial prognosis and treatment. He is also involved in finding out why women with the same type of breast cancer have different outcomes and how cancer affects the function of other organs and tissues in the body. He and his colleagues also recently showed that cancer cells can be detected in breast milk, which may enable researchers to characterize those cells. They are  continuing to explore this.

Milan Radovich, Ph.D., is focused on precision medicine and breast cancer and the tailoring of treatments  to give the most effective treatment for patients. His research work is focused on the use of genomic technology in translational oncology.

Bryan Schneider, M.D., is an expert on oncology precision medicine. He has identified several markers that predict which patients might suffer severe side effects from chemotherapy drugs before they ever receive the drug. Hematology-oncology, triple negative breast cancer, and breast cancer disparities are among his specialties.

Anna Maria Storniolo, M.D., is a medical oncologist and clinical scientist whose interest lies in helping to define the process in which a normal breast cell becomes cancerous. She is the founder and executive director of the Komen Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center, the world’s only collection of healthy breast tissue. The tissue is donated by selfless women without cancer who voluntarily undergo a breast biopsy for future research.

Richard Zellars, M.D., focuses his research on improving the safety and efficacy of radiation for breast cancer patients. 

Unique healthy breast tissue bank

Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center and Indiana University School of Medicine are home to the only healthy breast tissue bio-repository of its kind in the world. The bank, Susan G. Komen Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center, is uniquely positioned to characterize the molecular and genetic basis of normal breast development and compare it to the different types of breast cancer. The tissue bank was established expressly for the acquisition of healthy tissues from volunteer donors with no clinical evidence of breast disease and/or malignancy, providing a resource to investigators around the globe. By using samples from women without breast cancer, researchers will be able to determine the differences between healthy and cancerous tissues, which will lead to a better understanding of the disease. More than 5,000 women have donated breast tissue since the bank was established in 2007. Anna Maria Storniolo, M.D., is the  executive director.