Breast Cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in women – with almost 13% of all U.S. women getting diagnosed with the disease at least once in their life (about 1% of all breast cancer diagnoses are in men). Breast cancer occurs when cancerous cells form in the breast tissue, and a number of factors may cause cancer to occur, including family history, inherited genes, hormones (particularly estrogen and progestin), former cancer treatment, and nutrition. 

Though cancer research has made huge strides over the past few decades in the prevention, detection, and treatment of breast cancer, there is still much to investigate to truly understand and eradicate this disease. The Cancer Center at Illinois is home to a large collaborative of breast cancer researchers, working together and crossing disciplines to understand the causes of breast cancer, improve diagnostics, create more effective treatments with fewer side effects, and ultimately, save lives. 

Recently, CCIL scientists discovered ErSO, a breast cancer therapy that killed 95-100% of cancer cells in mouse models of human estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancers and their metastases in bone, brain, liver and lungs. Created by the labs of Paul Hergenrother and David Shapiro, ErSO was licensed by Bayer Pharmaceuticals, fast-tracking the drug to human clinical trials.


Aksimentiev Headshot

Aleksei Aksimentiev

Professor, Physics

Image of Mark Anastasio

Mark Anastasio

Professor, Engineering Head, Bioengineering

Image of Rohit Bhargava

Rohit Bhargava


Professor, Bioengineering

Stephen Boppart Head Shot

Stephen Boppart

Program Leader, Cancer Measurement Technology

Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Professor, Bioengineering

Jie Chen Headshot

Jie Chen

Professor, Cell and Developmental Biology

Image of Wawrzyniec Dobrucki

Wawrzyniec Dobrucki

Associate Professor, Bioengineering

Jodi Flaws Headshot

Jodi Flaws

Professor, Comparative Biosciences

Image of Viktor Gruev

Viktor Gruev

Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Paul Hergenrother Headshot

Paul Hergenrother

Deputy Director

Professor, Chemistry

Image of Michael Insana

Michael Insana

Professor, Bioengineering

Image of Joseph Irudayaraj

Joseph Irudayaraj

Associate Director for Shared Resources

Professor, Bioengineering

Image of Auinash Kalsotra

Auinash Kalsotra

Associate Professor, Biochemistry

Image of Benita Katzenellenbogen

Benita Katzenellenbogen

Professor, Physiology and Cell Biology

Image of John Katzenellenbogen

John Katzenellenbogen

Professor, Chemistry

Images of Jongsook Kim Kemper

Jongsook Kim Kemper

Professor, Molecular and Integrative Physiology

Image of David Kranz

David Kranz

Professor Emeritus, Biochemistry

Image of Prasanth Kumar Kannanganattu

Prasanth Kumar Kannanganattu

Professor, Cell and Developmental Biology

Deborah Leckband

Deborah Leckband

Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Zeynep Madak Erdogan

Zeynep Madak-Erdogan

Education Program Leader

Associate Professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition

Image of Catherine Murphy

Catherine Murphy

Professor, Head, Chemistry

Erik Nelson Headshot

Erik Nelson

Associate Professor, Molecular and Integrative Physiology

Image of Shuming Nie

Shuming Nie

Professor, Bioengineering

Image of Michael Oelze

Michael Oelze

Professor, Computer and Electrical Engineering

Image of Pablo Perez Pinera

Pablo Perez-Pinera

Associate Professor, Bioengineering

Image of Supriya Prasanth

Supriya Prasanth

Professor, Cell and Developmental Biology

Image of Lawrence Schook

Lawrence Schook

Professor, Animal Sciences

Image of David Shapiro

David Shapiro

Professor, Biochemistry

Image of Saurabh Sinha

Saurabh Sinha

Professor, Computer Science

Image of Stephan Sligar

Stephen Sligar

Professor, Biochemistry

Rebecca Smith

Rebecca Smith

Associate Professor, Pathobiology

Image of Pengfei Song

Pengfei Song

Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Headshot of Michael Spinella

Michael Spinella

Professor, Comparative Biosciences

image of emad tajkhorshid

Emad Tajkhorshid

Professor, Biochemistry

Related News


Bioengineering, Physics, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Cell & Developmental Biology, Biochemistry, Molecular and Integrative Physiology, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Chemistry, Food Science & Human Nutrition, Animal Sciences, Computer Science, Pathobiology, Comparative Biosciences