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.