Research Program

Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) has outstanding faculty, and the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center (SCC) provides state-of-the-art resources to facilitate basic, clinical and translational research efforts. The SCC core facilities include:

  • Bioinformatics Core
  • Biostatistics Core
  • Clinical Trials Core
  • Embryonic Stem Cell Core
  • Good Manufacturing Practice Facility
  • Health Behavior and Outreach Core
  • Hereditary Cancer Core
  • High-Speed Cell Sorter Core
  • Molecular Core Laboratory
  • Multiplexed Gene Analysis Core
  • Small Animal Cancer Imaging Core
  • Tissue Procurement Core

The Department of Surgery emphasizes research and productive scholarly activity to the students, residents and fellows. The following synopses summarize the research focus in breast cancer of individual faculty members:

  • Immune-based strategies for breast cancer: The research in this laboratory is under the direction of Timothy J. Eberlein, MD, and Peter Goedegeburre, PhD, and focuses on optimizing immune effector cells, in particular T-lymphocytes, to eradicate tumor cells and to study mechanisms of immune suppression in cancer patients. This laboratory studies vaccine strategies to elicit immunity in patients with breast cancer.
  • Detection of breast cancer cells in bone marrow of breast cancer patients: This research focuses on the identification of the breast-specific tumor-associated protein mammoglobin, and evaluates mammoglobin in blood, bone marrow and tumor in patients pre- and post-chemotherapy. The breast surgeons work with Timothy Fleming, PhD, of the Department of Surgery, on this project.
  • Research studying molecular detection of breast cancer in peripheral blood, and the development of mammoglobin-A vaccine for patients with breast cancer, is directed by William E. Gillanders, MD, of the Department of Surgery.
  • Isolation and characterization of disseminated breast cancer cells. This research studies immunohistochemistry and gene array analysis, and links this to patient outcome data. This research is conducted by Rebecca Aft, MD.
  • Fellows also will be encouraged to design at least one clinical research project during their training.

Clinical research projects will be developed under the direction of Julie A. Margenthaler, MD. Topics will be researched using our prospective surgical database which has >10,000 patients accrued over the past 10 years.