Research

Research into the causes of breast cancer has led to tremendous improvements in the survival rates for breast cancer.

The Breast Oncology Program at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center is led by Daniel Hayes, M.D. and Sofia Merajver, M.D., Ph.D. It is one of the largest and most comprehensive programs here. The program consists of both laboratory and clinical investigators who work together to translate exciting ideas and observations from the laboratory to the clinic to further advance evaluation and treatment of patients at risk for or with breast cancer. Expertise in the Breast Oncology Program and the associated Breast and Ovarian Cancer Risk Evaluation Program spans the gamut of breast cancer. Laboratory studies, clinical trials and clinical services are directed toward evaluation of breast-cancer risk, studies relating to screening and prevention, and trials of new approaches and therapies in patients with established cancer. Moreover, clinical and social researchers in the Breast Oncology Program are performing quality-of-life studies that will help women deal with their diagnosis and maintain their normal lives as easily as possible.

In multidisciplinary collaborations, research and clinical care programs in the Breast Oncology Program are directed toward:

Risk and Prevention

  • helping women define their risk for breast cancer, including evaluation of the breast-cancer-associated genes, BrCa 1 and 2
  • discovering new genes that play a role in breast-cancer development
  • developing a better understanding of how specific genes induce malignant behavior in cancer cells
  • " studying new agents that might complement the drug tamoxifen and prophylactic surgery for the prevention of breast cancer

Therapy of Established Breast Cancer

  • developing novel approaches to treatment of primary breast cancer (for example, cryotherapy)
  • finding better ways to deliver radiation therapy that may improve its safety and efficacy
  • seeking new agents that might prevent the recurrence of breast cancer or treat patients who have developed recurrences, including chemotherapy, hormone therapy, biological therapy and immunotherapy
  • understanding the genetic differences that explain how different patients respond to or deal with hormone therapy or chemotherapy for breast cancer
  • learning from breast cancer survivors about rehabilitation and the treatment of complications from breast cancer therapy, including non-hormonal treatment of post-menopausal symptoms

Nearly every one of these areas involves multidisciplinary interaction between clinical, laboratory and social scientists who are developing new and better ways of approaching each of these problems. Taken together, the broad interests of the clinicians and of the laboratory and clinical scientists have made the U-M Breast Oncology Program a national leader in breast cancer research and clinical management.

Watch the video to learn about the importance of breast cancer stem cells.

Learn more about breast cancer stem cell research.

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