The Indiana University School of Medicine has received a $12.5 million gift from the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer in Fort Wayne. IU says the funding will support new immunotherapy research efforts for breast cancer treatment.

The funding will help researchers develop improved therapies for triple negative breast cancer, which is an aggressive form of breast cancer that is resistant to chemotherapy. According to the university, immunotherapy uses the body’s immune system to target and destroy cancer cells.

“Our goal is to have a breast cancer diagnosis become an inconvenience rather than an overwhelming presence,” said Ruth Cook, chair of the Vera Bradley Foundation board. “We are confident our new pledge of $12.5 million will mean more women can enjoy long and thriving lives well beyond their breast cancer diagnosis.”

In total, the foundation has donated $50 million for breast cancer research, and in 2018, the foundation’s support helped create the Vera Bradley Foundation Center for Breast Cancer Research at the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“To say we’ve ‘donated’ $37.5 million for breast cancer research doesn’t tell our story,” said Cook. “To date, the foundation has provided $37.5 million of life changing research that has and will continue to impact women and their loved ones all over the globe. We’ve invested in a team of the best, the brightest, and the most passionate researchers in the world. Our research team is relentlessly pursuing critical advancements that have and will continue to change the face of breast cancer forever.”

Since 2004, IU says its researchers have published more than 1,300 discoveries in peer-reviewed journals.