Vera Bradley Foundation Boosts New Cancer Center

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From left-to-right: Vera Bradley co-founder Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, IU School of Medicine Dean Jay Hess and Vera Bradley co-founder Patricia Miller. From left-to-right: Vera Bradley co-founder Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, IU School of Medicine Dean Jay Hess and Vera Bradley co-founder Patricia Miller.
INDIANAPOLIS -

A new research center focused on difficult-to-treat types of breast cancer is planned for Indianapolis. The Vera Bradley Foundation Center for Breast Cancer Research will include a 30-member team at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. To date, the Fort Wayne-based Vera Bradley Foundation Center for Breast Cancer Research has committed a total of $37.5 million to the school in the fight against the disease.

IU School of Medicine Dean Jay Hess says "while we have made major strides in the treatment of breast cancer, far too many women still die from this disease, and others endure long-lasting side effects from treatments. With the establishment of this center, we are putting a big stake in the ground and redoubling our efforts to find solutions for these women. No one has done more to support breast cancer research in our state than the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer, and I cannot imagine a more fitting namesake for our center."

The IU School of Medicine has launched a nationwide search for the center's first director. A major focus of the new center will be so-called triple negative breast cancer, which is more aggressive than other forms and disproportionately affects younger women and black women. The recurrence rate of triple negative breast cancer is also higher and standard therapy -- if the cancer returns -- is often ineffective.

IU School of Medicine Executive Associate Dean for Research Anantha Shekhar says "along with Vera Bradley Foundation's generosity, IU has made tremendous investments in both faculty recruitments and infrastructure as part of our Precision Health Initiative that put us in a prime position to make substantial inroads against triple negative disease - and to potentially cure some forms of it. We are beginning to uncover the genetic changes that give rise to these particularly toxic forms of breast cancer, and we are developing the capabilities to harness the power of a women's own immune system to attack her tumor. With this combination of cutting-edge treatments, I am confident that we will soon be able help more women conquer their disease."

IU School of Medicine is considered the largest medical school in the nation. You can connect to more about the new center by clicking here.

Executive Associate Dean for Research Anantha Shekhar explains the focus of the center.
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