The Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer is focused solely on investing in breast cancer research. Currently, we fund research at the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer Research Laboratories at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. Knowing that cancer will not be cured in a vacuum, members of our team are well known worldwide for their collaborative approach. It’s this sharing of information, talents and resources that will accelerate the pace of research.
At-a-glance summary of how the Vera Bradley Foundation directs the allocation
of its donations to the Indiana University Simon Cancer Center.
48%—Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer Research Laboratories
New project funding is provided for researchers all with a single focus: better outcomes for patients.
Exclusive to the Vera Bradley Foundation, these funds support research focused on minimizing the toxicity of treatment while maximizing effectiveness.
15%—Three Vera Bradley Foundation Chairs
• Vera Bradley Chair in Oncology
• Vera Bradley Foundation Chair in Breast Cancer Research
• Vera Bradley Foundation Chair in Breast Oncology
Funding of these specific chairs allows for the expansion of expertise in the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer Laboratories at the Indiana University Simon Cancer Center.
9%—Vera Bradley Foundation Scholars
Post-doctoral fellows who are training with members of the
breast cancer research program are provided with specific
funding to pursue breast cancer research projects, including
those that support monogrammed medicine.
Only in the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer Research Laboratories are researchers able to pinpoint the perfect drug or drugs to fight breast tumors and sync this knowledge with each woman’s genetic and personal profile. It’s exciting for us to know that this work—that will impact care everywhere—is only possible because of funding from our Foundation.
Monogrammed Medicine is unique because researchers at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center are designing therapies that consider both the genetics of the tumor and the woman it has invaded. Our researchers are learning how to predict and adjust if a patient lacks a critical enzyme to metabolize a drug, or if the antacid she takes interferes with treatment effectiveness, or if the treatment will be too toxic for her to withstand. Threading these intricate strands of information means that the breast cancer therapy prescribed is hers and hers alone. It’s Monogrammed Medicine.
Science of Hope
Below are the latest research findings from the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer Research Laboratories at Indiana University, all with a single focus: better outcomes for patients.
Through the study of genomics, researchers have found biomarkers that indicate chemotherapy-induced neuropathy side effects.
Genomics: understanding a person’s genetics may be important in knowing how the cancer spreads within the body and in how we treat patients to minimize side effects.
Genetic sequencing is revealing biomarkers for potential treatment targets and methods of early detection for this particularly aggressive form of breast cancer.
Triple-negative breast cancer: when breast cancer cells test negative for estrogen receptors (ER-), progesterone receptors (PR-) and HER2 (HER2-) —three hormones we can target.
Targeting tumor survival:
A novel therapy targeting telomerase is being tested in patients of various breast cancer types. Research is showing that telomerase inhibitors work well together with the standard drug Herceptin to halt tumor growth.
Telomerase: an enzyme in cancer cells that keeps them from growing old — think of telomerase as the fountain of youth for breast cancer cells.
Drugs commonly used in heart patients to help stop muscle wasting are being studied in the lab to see if treatment will work in the clinic to help patients maintain strength.
Researchers are finding new ways to improve memory and brain function (without taking drugs) in survivors who have had chemotherapy.
High risk factor improvement:
A common Type 2 diabetes drug is in Phase I clinical trials to see if it might help change breast density in overweight or obese women at high risk.
Reduction of side effects:
Experiments with acupuncture to help improve sleep as well as reduce hot flashes in postmenopausal breast cancer survivors are being conducted.