Hello. My name is Suzanne Conzen and I'm a medical oncologist and basic scientist at the University of Chicago.
The University of Chicago performs three basic types of breast cancer research.
The first type is known as preclinical research in which laboratory scientists try to identify major factors that cause breast cancer. It is by identifying these factors that we hope to develop blockers to these factors so that we can actually treat breast cancer more effectively.
The second type of research is known as translational research. In translational research we attempt to take these findings, which we discover in the laboratory, and use patient samples to determine whether our findings may be in fact true.
The third type of research is called clinical research. Clinical research could not be done without patient participation. In clinical research, patients enter clinical trials, and in these trials we try to determine whether new therapies may in fact be better than existing therapies. Existing therapies are compared head-to-head with a novel treatment and that treatment which is better than the existing treatment may be adopted as the standard of care.
We have two major projects here at the University of Chicago that are funded by the National Institutes of Health that span preclinical to translational to clinical research.
One is looking at the role of the environment and in this case we mean the social environment including stress in affecting breast cancer predisposition or the risk of breast cancer.
The second project is called the specialized program of research excellence in which we are looking at novel techniques for improving imaging and for identifying patients at highest risk of breast cancer.