One team will be composed of 700 women who will selflessly donate breast tissue to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center, and the other team will include the 600 volunteers needed to help the donations happen.
The two are coming together Saturday, Jan. 28 and Sunday, Jan. 29 for Indy’s Super Cure, a bold initiative developed by the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee to raise awareness about the tissue bank, increase the diversity of donors and raise $1 million to help support the tissue bank, the first and only healthy breast tissue bank in the world.
Collecting 700 tissue samples in two days is significant, especially when compared to the average yearly number of collections, which typically is 500. Emphasis has also been placed on recruiting women from minority populations, including race, ethnicity, age and body type.
Why is it important for researchers to have breast tissue samples from a diverse population?
“There are a number of questions that can be answered only if we have samples that represent all women,” Susan Clare, M.D., Ph.D., a co-principle investigator of the tissue bank, said. “For example, although African-American women get breast cancer at a lower rate than American women of European descent, they are more likely to die from it. Why is this so? Socioeconomic factors are only a part of the explanation.”
Dr. Clare added: “We want the Komen Tissue Bank to look like America as far as demographics. We need samples from African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and other nationalities. We also need age diversity, especially from women ages 55 to 85.”
By collecting samples from women without breast cancer, researchers may be able to determine the differences between healthy and cancerous tissue, which will lead to a better understanding of the disease.
Where is Indy’s Super Cure?
Indy’s Super Cure donations will take place in the Hematology Clinic and Women’s Center (second floor) in the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, 1030 W. Michigan St. Parking is available across the street in the Vermont Street Garage on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) campus.
During the donation process, a tissue sample is taken, after local anesthesia, from one breast with a needle. The amount of tissue collected is about one gram (or the size of two peas). To participate, women must:
Be 18 or older.
Have the ability to understand and the willingness to sign an informed consent.
Be willing to give one hour of their time to complete a questionnaire and a breast biopsy.
Not be allergic to local anesthetics (numbing medicine).
Not be receiving a therapeutic blood thinner (this does not include aspirin).
Not have breast implants or have had a breast reduction.
To register, visit www.komentissuebank.iu.edu or contact (317) 274-2366 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Donors must have a confirmed appointment time.
When are the next collections?
The next breast tissue collection events at the IU Simon Cancer Center are March 10 and Nov. 3. On June 9, a collection event will take place at the Norton Cancer Institute in Louisville, Ky., while one will take place Sept. 29 at Cook County Health & Hospitals System in Chicago. Visit www.komentissuebank.iu.edu to join the interested donor list. Interested donors will receive regular updates after joining the list.