In partnership with UC Health, the University of Cincinnati Cancer Institute (UCCI) Breast Cancer Center offers patients the combined benefit of advanced, science-driven medicine with a personalized, compassionate approach to treatment and follow-up care. It is the only center in the region awarded commendation from the American College of Radiology as a Center of Excellence and the American College of Surgeons as a NQMBC Certified Center of Excellence.
Researchers within the center are working to discover the underlying reasons breast cancer develops, with hopes of stopping it in its tracks, improve standardized treatments for better patient outcomes and combat drug-resistant breast cancer. The center's Multidisciplinary REDCap database warehouses patient information for over 2,000 patients to provide metrics and house risk factors, tumor biology, treatment, survival and more to assess trends in cancer development and improve outcomes for patients. Physician researchers within the center also offer a number of clinical trials, including investigator-initiated trials that are not available elsewhere in the country.
Center scientists are continually funded for their basic and translational research through internal and federal sources, including the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Defense and the American Cancer Society, and are published in peer-reviewed sources.
Some of these standout projects include:
- The discovery of the role of MicroRNA-205 in tamoxifen (a common chemotherapy treatment)-resistant breast cancer and potential ways to target or modify it.
- The discovery of the role of Ron receptor tyrosine kinase signaling in the development of breast cancer—the ron receptor sits on the outside of cells and works to provide communication between them—and how to target the ron signaling to stop breast cancer from progressing or recurring.
- Studying ways to regulate MED1 (a protein found in breast cancer cells that when eliminated is found to stop cancer cell growth) in metastasis and potentially use this as a therapeutic target for breast cancer.
- Targeting metastatic breast cancer by RNA aptamers (peptide molecules).
The center also houses the Breast Cancer Registry of Greater Cincinnati, which was created in 2004 by UC’s Department of Environmental Health and serves as a major resource for not only local researchers but also national researchers who use the data for breast cancer study recruitment and data analysis. The information included in the registry is completely confidential and is more than just a tissue sample. Each record contains personal and family history facts that allow the researcher to look deeper for causes of breast cancer to provide supplemental, yet critical, information that will allow them to investigate "quality of life" questions for breast cancer patients.
The registry has helped researchers conduct studies focusing on the puberty of young girls in relation to breast cancer formation, gene-environment interactions in breast cancer formation, current exercise behaviors, pain and quality of life in breast cancer patients and body weight as risk factor for contralateral breast cancer.