Anna Maria Storniolo, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine
2012-2013 BCRF Project(s):
(made possible by generous support from ULTA Beauty)
Department of Hematology/Oncology
Indiana University School of Medicine
Co-Investigator: Susan E. Clare, MD, PhD
, Indiana University School of Medicine
With BCRF support, Drs. Clare and Storniolo are in the process of developing a molecular encyclopedia of the breast. This project will enable a more comprehensive understanding of how breast tissues and cells changes molecularly over the course of a woman's life. Among the risk factors for breast cancer are hereditary gene mutations, and never having been pregnant. Drs. Clare and Storniolo will utilize cutting-edge molecular technology to determine how these risk factors affect normal milk duct cells.
Mid-year Progress: Efforts to prevent and treat breast cancer are significantly impeded by a lack of knowledge of the normal mammary gland. Using normal breast tissue from the Indiana University Simon Cancer Center, Drs. Clare and Storniolo have completed a molecular study, which has revealed how the breast changes during the menstrual cycle, and they have determined the effect on the breast of hormonal contraception. They are the process of applying the same molecular technology to specimens from tissue donors who are known to carry BRCA gene mutations, which put them at substantial risk of the eventual development of breast cancer. Comparing the results from the BRCA carriers to those from the breasts of women without a genetic predisposition to breast cancer will provide insights into how the risk of breast cancer is translated into specific molecular alterations.
Dr. Storniolo is a Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Hematology/Oncology Section at the I.U. School of Medicine. She earned her medical degree at the Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California. She then completed her Internal Medicine residency and fellowships in both Hematology and Medical Oncology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine in Rochester, N.Y.
Prior to coming to Indiana University in September 2000, she was an assistant professor of medicine at the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine. She also served in various leadership positions at Eli Lilly and Company (1992-2000), where she was responsible for the clinical development of various cancer drugs, most notably Gemzar.
In addition to treating women with all stages of breast cancer, Dr. Storniolo is director of the Catherine Peachey Breast Cancer Prevention Program. Her research interests include helping to define the process by which a normal breast cell becomes cancerous. That work has led her and some very dedicated co-workers to found the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tissue Bank at the Indiana University 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 would lead us to finding blood markers that could be used to identify women at risk before they actually develop breast cancer, and would also allow us to develop medicines that would alter that process and prevent cancer from occurring.