Clinical Breast Cancer Project/Breast Cancer Translational Research Center

Clinical Breast Cancer Project/Breast Cancer Translational Research Center

A Featured HJF Research Program

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in women in the U.S. and the most common cancer American women experience. The Clinical Breast Care Project was launched in 2000 with the mission to lead innovative research that would eventually eradicate the disease.

In July 2001, approximately 200 people attended the grand opening of the Clinical Breast Care Project’s diagnosis and treatment center at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, led by Army Colonel Craig Shriver, M.D. The first Army facility of its kind, the Comprehensive Breast Center was designed to provide a more patient-friendly alternative to traditional facilities.

The streamlined approach to care eliminated the need for patients to shuttle from place to place for diagnosis, consultation and treatment by offering all services in a centralized location. The center brought together researchers and medical professionals at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Windber Research Institute in western Pennsylvania. Its proteomics research center and immunology research facility promised to offer new advances into the cause and cure of breast cancer.

In 2004, the program became part of a research consortium that sought to use missile defense technology in the fight against breast cancer. Researchers used methods similar to the mathematical and probability models utilized in missile defense systems to evaluate the use of minimally invasive methods for screening to detect markers for risk of disease or early presence of disease. The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command partnered with the Clinical Breast Care Project, Windber Research Institute and Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

In 2012, the John P. Murtha Cancer Center, of which the Clinical Breast Care Project is a part, achieved designation by the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs as a Department of Defense Center of Excellence. Today, the Breast Cancer Translational Research Center houses the world’s largest biorepository of high-quality human breast specimens, numbering more than 56,000, contributed by more than 6,000 consented subjects.

Located at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (Walter Reed Bethesda, pictured below), the program is a collaboration among HJF, Windber Research Institute and Walter Reed Bethesda. Shriver is now the director of the Murtha Cancer Center.

The Murtha Cancer Center has formed a one-of-a-kind cancer care organization. The Breast Care and Research Center combines the strengths of the former Clinical Breast Care Project and the National Navy Medical Center Breast Care Center. The Foundation continues to facilitate collaboration between the centers, providing administrative and management resources to the project.

Through a five-year Susan G. Komen Promise grant, Breast Cancer Translational Research Center studies biomarkers in archival breast cancer tissue and collaborates with organizations such as the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Genome Atlas Project. Recently, the center was part of a collaborative study funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute, both part of NIH.