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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
Ann Rife Cox Chair in Gynecology,
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, with chemotherapy, toxic drugs that kill not 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. The advance of targeted therapies, drugs that target specific proteins or characteristics of a tumor cell, has created 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. Technologies that allow scientists to measure levels of DNA, RNA and proteins are changing how we view and treat cancers. Dr. Mills and colleagues have established a preclinical model of breast cancer using human tumors that allows them to identify molecular changes that are directly responsible for its malignant behavior. They are using this information to help identify new targeted therapies for breast cancers that will lead to more personalized medicine.


Gordon B. Mills, MD, PhD, was recruited to The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in 1994, where he holds the rank of Professor with joint appointments in Systems Biology, Breast Medical Oncology and Immunology; serves as chairman of the Department of Systems Biology; holds the Wiess Distinguished University Chair in Cancer Medicine. 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.