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Breast Cancer Research

Program Co-Leaders: Elaine Mardis, PhD, Jason Weber, PhD, and Katherine Weilbaecher, MD  

The Breast Cancer Research Program includes 29 faculty members from eight departments and two schools to form an integrated group dedicated to research on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. Program members have diverse interests, including:

  • Breast health communications
  • The pathology and biology of premalignant lesions
  • The development of intrinsic breast cancer subtype assays
  • Translational research on endocrine therapy resistance in the context of cooperative group neoadjuvant endocrine therapy trials
  • The development of novel therapeutics that target both tumor cells and bone and immune system cells

We also are very actively investigating novel imaging approaches for predicting response to hormonal therapy. In addition, the program is collaborating with Washington University's Genome Center in an effort to unravel the genetic changes associated with breast cancer susceptibility, initiation, progression, relapse and resistance. Program members are advancing new breast cancer models in order to develop preclinical justifications for investigator-initiated clinical trials in our developmental therapeutics programs.  Classes of agents under development include phosphoinositol-3-kinase inhibitors, hedgehog inhibitors, check point homolog kinase (CHK1) inhibitors and Trop2 antibodies.

The program consists of a number of basic, translational and clinical investigators who meet weekly in a highly interactive scientific milieu. Large numbers of breast cancer patients are being treated on clinical protocols at Washington University, and a number of Siteman Cancer Center cores are essential for the mission of the program, including the Clinical Trials CoreImaging Response Assessment TeamTissue Procurement CoreMolecular and Genomic Analysis CoreBiostatistics CoreBioinformatics Core and Proteomics Core.