Susan G. Komen Tissue Bank helps answer questions about breast cancer

INDIANAPOLIS – While studying breast cancer research at the IU Simon Cancer Center, doctors said they’ve found a discovery that could one day lead to its source.

Inside the center is where the Susan G. Komen Tissue Bank collects samples from women hoping to find the cause of the cancer. Dr. Anna Maria Storniolo said researchers have found preventative strategies need to cater to women of specific races and ethnicities.

“If our normals are different, ultimately, preventative strategies are going to have to be different based on race and ethnicity because of what's going to work in me is not going to work in a woman of African descent,” said Storniolo.

The tissue bank has collected over 5,000 samples within the past decade. Storniolo said the samples taken from women who’ve developed breast cancer have provided lots of data to study further.

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“There are significant differences in DNA and protein in RNA messaging,” she said. “What that really means is what we've caught - because those women are going to develop breast cancer in the near future, we've probably caught signals of the earliest, earliest changes in the cancer process.”

 

The tissue bank’s next phase includes following up with the women who’ve donated, so doctors can find out who develops cancer and why.

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