Professor of Clinical Medicine
Department of Hematology/Oncology
Indiana University School of Medicine
Despite encouraging advances in breast cancer care, approximately 40,000 women in the US still lose their lives to this disease every year. Studying the normal mammary gland offers a unique opportunity in improving our understanding of the evolution of breast cancer. Dr. Storniolo and colleagues will utilize specimens from the Komen Tissue Bank (KTB) at the IU Simon Cancer Center, the only biorepository of normal breast tissue, to identify early molecular changes and pathway alterations occurring during cancer initiation. Dr. Storniolo believes that specimens donated by healthy women who subsequently developed breast cancer one to three years after their normal tissue donations will contain early molecular alterations leading to cancer developments. To identify the molecular alteration occurring in these specimens, they will compare their genetic profiles to that of normal breast tissues donated by healthy donors who did not develop breast cancer. The analysis of these matched samples will provide more accurate information on the cancer-forming process.
Dr. Anna Maria Storniolo is a medical oncologist and Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine. She earned her medical degree at Stanford and completed her Internal Medicine residency and fellowships in Hematology and Medical Oncology at the University of Rochester.
Prior to coming to Indiana University in September 2000, she was an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of California-San Diego. She also served in leadership positions at Eli Lilly (1992-2000), where she was responsible for the clinical development of various cancer drugs, most notably Gemzar (gemcitabine).
In addition to treating women breast cancer, Dr. Storniolo is director of the Catherine Peachey Breast Cancer Prevention Program, a comprehensive program providing risk assessment and counseling for women who may be at risk for developing breast cancer.
Her research interests include helping to define the process by which a normal breast cell becomes cancerous. That work has led her to found the Susan G. Komen Tissue Bank at the I.U. Simon Cancer Center, a biorepository of biologic specimens primarily from women who do not have breast cancer. These samples are a source of DNA, RNA and proteins which are invaluable in deciphering the molecular changes leading from normal breast cells to cancer. Elucidating the steps in the malignant process will lead to finding blood markers that could be used to identify women at risk before they actually develop breast cancer, and would also allow the development of medicines that would alter that process and prevent cancer from occurring.