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Breast Cancer Research

Research is where cancer care begins. It provides us with a road map for cancer detection, diagnosis and treatment.

At Penn Medicine, our researchers and physicians work closely together to implement the newest breast cancer findings into your clinical care. The Abramson Cancer Center Breast Cancer Research Program is one of the nation's few dedicated breast cancer research programs associated with a comprehensive cancer center. Our high-level research gives you access to the most advanced cancer care.

Breast Cancer Research: The Abramson Cancer Center Advantage

Our breast cancer research program leaves no stone unturned. Through clinical, laboratory and imaging studies, we investigate all aspects of breast cancer to provide you with the best possible care. We are nationally recognized for our:

  • Designation as a comprehensive cancer center: The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recognizes us as a comprehensive cancer center with a distinct breast cancer research program. When appropriate, patients have access to breast cancer clinical trials as part of treatment.
  • Established, funded program: The NCI has continuously funded our program since it began in 1995. We also have extensive funding from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and Stand Up to Cancer.
  • Advancement of targeted therapies: We are a nationwide leader for research related to targeted therapies for breast cancer. We led the development of PARP inhibitors and CDK4/6 inhibitors, which are now FDA-approved standards of care.
  • Pioneers in BRCA research: The Basser Center for BRCA is the first comprehensive center focused on research for the prevention and treatment of BRCA-related cancers. We provide unique access to clinical trials for hereditary cancer.
  • Focused study of breast cancer recurrence: Our 2-PREVENT Breast Cancer Translational Center of Excellence is the only program in the country dedicated to research for breast cancer recurrence.
  • Participation in premier research consortia: As members of prestigious research associations, including the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium (TBCRC), I-SPY Consortium and the ECOG/ACRIN Cooperative Trials Group, we collaborate with the best breast cancer researchers in the country. We participate in many trials through these groups and implement these research findings into our clinical care.
  • Renowned imaging research: We are international leaders in the development of innovative imaging technologies for breast cancer, including breast MRI and 3D mammogram. Our research provides expert breast cancer screening and diagnosis.

How Research Impacts Our Breast Cancer Care

Our breast cancer care is rooted in advanced research. Our physicians are engaged in research and understand the evolution of breast cancer treatment. Members of our team are recognized experts who establish national protocols and guidelines for breast cancer care. This gives you immediate access to the newest drugs and innovative research strategies. We provide forward-thinking, state-of-the-art care at every stage of your disease.

When appropriate, our physicians offer investigational treatments through clinical trials as options for your care plan. We have studies for every aspect of breast cancer from screening to surveillance. If you have a higher risk of breast cancer, we offer a wide range of research opportunities investigating everything from lifestyle modifications to novel types of screening to therapies for specific gene mutations.

Participating in Cancer Research at Penn

There are many ways to get involved in breast cancer research at the Abramson Cancer Center. All of them help us establish the direction of breast cancer care.

We make it easy to participate in breast cancer research whether you are a patient at Penn or elsewhere. After you contact us, our clinical trial nurse navigator works with you to identify a trial or study appropriate to your diagnosis. Once your study begins, a research program manager helps you navigate all aspects of the experience.

Participation in our breast cancer research program can include:

  • Clinical trials: Our large portfolio of clinical trials gives you access to innovative treatments. At Penn you have access to studies for all stages of breast cancer and survivorship that are not available at other centers.
  • Observational studies: Our researchers learn more about breast cancer treatments or specific types of breast cancer by studying patients.
  • Database and biobank contributions: Every patient diagnosed at Penn can choose to donate their tumor and personal clinical information. We conduct research using tumor samples created during routine breast cancer care.
  • Regional studies: We develop studies targeting particular populations within our geographic area to better understand trends in breast cancer care.