You are here

BCRF Grantee Since


Donor Recognition

The Smart Circle/RGS Labs International Award

Area(s) of Focus

Gordon B. Mills, MD, PhD

Chair, Department of Systems Biology
Professor of Medicine and Immunology,
Division of Cancer Medicine
Head, Kleberg Center for Molecular Markers
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, Texas

Current Research

In the past, all breast cancers were treated the same way, that is with chemotherapy, toxic drugs that kill only cancer cells, but healthy cells as well. While these therapies are successful for many, only two out of three breast cancer patients will benefit from standard chemotherapy, while at the same time enduring significant side effects. Technologies that allow scientists to measure levels of DNA, RNA and proteins are changing how we view and treat cancers and create an opportunity for personalized medicine. The key to truly personalized medicine is in understanding the tumor within the context of the individual. For example, a tumor that has a mutated gene does not behave the same way in every woman and is influenced by the genetic makeup of the individual. With continuous support from BCRF, Dr. Mills and colleagues have established a preclinical model of breast cancer with aberrant expression of ATX/LPA, a signaling pathway that causes tumor formation later in life. This innovative model system provides a unique opportunity to explore targeted therapies and immunotherapies as well as their combinations in order to accelerate new therapies to the patient.


Gordon B. Mills, MD, PhD, was recruited to The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) in 1994, where he holds the rank of Professor with joint appointments in Systems Biology, Breast Medical Oncology and Immunology, and serves as chairman of the Department of Systems Biology. Dr. Mills is Director of the Kleberg Center for Molecular Markers and Director for the South Campus Research Building II. Dr. Mills is also co-Director of the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy. The Center and the Institute are responsible for developing and implementing personalized molecular medicine at MDACC. Dr. Mills has published extensively on the molecular analysis of cancer and currently serves as principal investigator or project investigator on many national peer review grants including Stand Up To Cancer, NIH/NCI SPOREs U24 and PPGs, Department of Defense, CPRIT and Komen Foundation grants, and is a collaborator on multiple other national grants. He has recently been awarded the Komen Brinker award for Scientific Excellence and the Stand up to Cancer Laura Ziskin Prize for mentoring. Dr. Mills has published more than 700 papers; holds more than 20 patents related to novel technologies and molecular markers and has co-founded an early diagnostics company. He currently sits on the scientific advisory boards of multiple companies and venture capital groups.