The Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center is a leading academic cancer research center in the United States. It is located in Indianapolis on the IU School of Medicine campus.
Established in 1992 as the Indiana University (IU) Cancer Center, the IU center became an NCI-designated cancer center in 1999. The center was renamed the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center in 2006.
Its mission is to decrease the mortality and suffering from cancer by conducting outstanding translational research, providing excellence in education, and by delivering high quality patient-centered care. With an intent of delivering its services to all Hoosiers, the center’s researchers and physicians are also focused on improving the health and well-being of racial, ethnic, and rural area populations in Indiana by establishing strong relationships with key organizations and leaders in diverse and underserved communities.
A partnership between the IU School of Medicine and Indiana University Health, the center has more than 200 research members, including basic, clinical, and population science investigators. The researchers work collaboratively with the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research and the Harper Cancer Research Institute, a partnership between the IU School of Medicine and the University of Notre Dame.
The scientists conduct research in five different programs. The goals of those programs range from understanding the molecular changes that cause cancer to the development of targeted therapies to prevent and treat cancer.
The center’s physician scientists have made protocol-defining discoveries that have changed the way doctors treat testicular cancer, breast cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, genitourinary cancer, leukemia, multiple myeloma, thymoma and thymic carcinomas, and thoracic cancers. IU Simon Cancer Center physicians at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health and IU Health University Hospital are recognized nationally for their bone marrow and stem cell transplantation programs.
Through a partnership with IU Health, cancer patients benefit from the scientific discoveries made at the IU Simon Cancer Center. The center’s patient care building brings together a multidisciplinary team for patients that combines treatment, research, and supportive care in a manner that is individualized for each person.
Many patients come to the IU Simon Cancer Center because of clinical trials that are available only here. The IU Simon Cancer Center offers more than 700 adult and pediatric clinical trials. And because of the reach of the Hoosier Cancer Research Network, the community outreach arm of the center, every Hoosier is within 60 miles of a clinical research site. A model for community-academic partnerships, the Hoosier Cancer Research Network, formerly Hoosier Oncology Group, offers ease of access to clinical studies for patients in rural parts of the state so they can receive their treatments close to their homes.
Also of note, the Susan G. Komen Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center – the first and only such bank -- collects breast tissue samples from women without breast cancer. 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. The bank’s samples are available to researchers around the world.
On the global stage, the center works with the IU School of Medicine-Kenya Partnership to deliver prevention, treatment and palliative care for cancer patients at the Moi Teaching Referral Hospital in western Kenya.
As for the future, the center’s members serve as teachers to the next generation of physicians and researchers. As educators, the research members teach nearly 2,000 students, residents, and fellows each year. Overall, the center offers training programs for students ranging from high-school students to postgraduates.
* This profile was provided by the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center.