National Cancer Institute NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
April 6, 2010 • Volume 7 / Number 7

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Cancer Center Profile

Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center

Director: Dr. Patrick J. Loehrer, Sr. • 535 Barnhill Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46202
Phone: 888-600-4822 • Web site: www.cancer.iu.edu

Background

Indiana University Simon Cancer Center Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center

The Indiana University (IU) Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center began as the Indiana University Cancer Center, receiving its NCI cancer center designation in 1999 under the leadership of the late Dr. Stephen Williams. Today, it involves a partnership between Clarian Health and the IU School of Medicine, which is the nation’s third largest medical school. The IU Simon Cancer Center has significantly grown its extramural research funding base in the last decade, attracting world-class physicians and researchers and opening new patient care and translational research facilities.

IU has become an incubator for national and international leadership. Examples of IU faculty and staff who have gone on to accept important roles in the cancer community include Dr. George Sledge, who is president-elect of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and will take office this June; Dr. Peter Johnstone, who is president-elect of the American Radium Society and will take office in May; Dr. Hal Broxmeyer, current president of the American Society of Hematology; and Dr. Victoria Champion, who serves on the National Cancer Advisory Board.

Research

Research expertise at the IU Simon Cancer Center is known around the world, offering renewed hope for patients and families and new options in cancer care. Among the list of these accomplishments and the faculty who continue to pioneer cancer treatments are the following:

  • Dr. Lawrence Einhorn developed the curative chemotherapy regimen for testicular cancer. Trials conducted at IU were instrumental in the FDA’s approval of cisplatin, etoposide, and ifosfamide to treat this indication.
  • Dr. Hal Broxmeyer is a scientific pioneer in the field of umbilical cord blood stem cell transplantation. As one of the first scientists to recognize the value of harvesting stem cells from cord blood, Dr. Broxmeyer was a member of the international team that performed the first transplant of this kind in France in 1988.
  • In a phase III trial led by Dr. Kathy Miller, bevacizumab improved progression-free survival when it was given with chemotherapy to patients with metastatic breast cancer. This study, conducted by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, was the first to show a benefit of antiangiogenic therapy in patients with breast cancer and provided the pivotal data for FDA approval of the drug in this disease.
  • Dr. David Flockhart demonstrated that women taking tamoxifen with certain antidepressants double their chances of the disease returning. The FDA revised the tamoxifen label to include this information.

Patient Care

Nearly 40,000 outpatients and 4,000 inpatients turn to the IU Simon Cancer Center for care each year, seeking the multidisciplinary team approach that combines treatment, research, and supportive care in a manner that is individualized for each patient.

Located in downtown Indianapolis, the IU Simon Cancer Center opened a $150 million, 405,000 square-foot patient care building in late 2008 that brings these various aspects of cancer care together in one location. And through its affiliation with the Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute at Indiana University-Bloomington, the center offers proton radiotherapy as a treatment option for certain cancers.

Other Notable Programs

Researchers with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center collect and share healthy breast tissue samples with researchers around the world to help further understanding of how breast cells turn cancerous. This tissue bank, which is the first and only healthy breast tissue bank in the world, currently has samples from more than 6,700 women.

The Hoosier Oncology Group (HOG), one of the most successful networks of community and academic partners that work together to conduct clinical cancer research at the local level, will celebrate its 25th anniversary later this month. Founded by faculty members at the IU Simon Cancer Center and others, it has grown to a network of more than 400 physicians and has enrolled more than 3,000 people in more than 150 clinical trials.

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