The world’s only known healthy breast tissue bank has set a milestone.
During a breast tissue collection on Nov. 3, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tissue Bank at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center reached and exceeded its 3,000th donor since its establishment in 2007. The tissue bank currently has breast tissue samples from 3,002 women.
“I continue to be awed and inspired by the women who willingly give a piece of themselves for breast cancer research,” Anna Maria Storniolo, M.D., principle investigator of the tissue bank and a physician/researcher at the IU Simon Cancer Center, said. “The research community did not believe that healthy women would do so, but 3,002 women have proven them wrong. We owe a debt of gratitude to these women.”
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 cellular changes of the disease.
During the donation process, a tissue sample is taken from one breast with a needle and local anesthesia. The amount of tissue taken is about one gram (or the size of two peas).
In July 2013, tissue bank staff will travel to Kenya to collect samples that will enhance research into why breast cancer behaves differently in people of different ethnic backgrounds. The tissue bank will also hold collection events in Houston in September and Orange County, Calif., in November.