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Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer CenterVanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center


VICC toll-free number 1-877-936-8422

Program Leaders

Carlos L. Arteaga, M.D.
Ingrid Mayer, M.D., M.S.C.I.

Breast Cancer

The Breast Cancer Program (BC) includes 28 members from 11 academic departments from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM), School of Nursing, and School of Engineering. Program members have expertise in cellular signaling and molecular biology, breast pathology, genomic profiling, biomedical informatics, medical, surgical, and radiation oncology, clinical trial design, epidemiology, and supportive care studies.

Scientific Goals

The program has a strong emphasis on breast epithelial cell and molecular biology, basic science driven translational and clinical research, and molecular epidemiology. Main scientific goals of the BC include:

  1. To identify and stimulate meritorious and fundable basic science-based and translational/clinical research in breast cancer

  2. To enhance communication among program members and disseminate new data and novel approaches

  3. To mentor and train investigators in translational research in breast cancer

  4. To seek and establish research partnerships with other academic institutions, Pharma and Biotech to enhance the program’s translational goals

Program Leaders

Carlos L. Arteaga, M.D., obtained his medical degree at the University of Guayaquil in Ecuador. He trained in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology at Emory University and the University of Texas Health Sciences Center San Antonio, respectively. He joined Vanderbilt in 1989 where he now holds the Donna S. Hall Chair in Breast Cancer Research and serves as Professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology. Dr. Arteaga is also Associate Director for Clinical Research and Director of the Breast Cancer Research Program of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC). He is also the founding director or the new Center for Cancer Targeted Therapies at VICC. He has over 250 publications in the areas of signaling by growth factor receptors and oncogenes in breast tumor cells, development of targeted therapies and biomarkers of drug action and resistance, and investigator-initiated clinical trials in breast cancer. Since 2002, he has directed the NCI-funded Vanderbilt Breast Cancer SPORE where he co-leads several investigator-initiated clinical trials. His research is funded by the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program, Stand Up 2 Cancer (SU2C) and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Breast Cancer Research foundations. He is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation (1998) and the Association of American Physicians (2005). He served as member of the Experimental Therapeutics-2 NIH Study Section (1998-2003), the NCI Board of Scientific Counselors (1999-2004), NCI Parent Subcommittee A for review of Cancer Centers (2004-2008), the Breast Core Committee of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG), and the Board of Directors of the American Association for Cancer Research (2004-2007). He co-chaired the former Developmental Therapeutics Committee of ECOG and chaired the AACR Special Conferences Committee (2002-2008). Arteaga is the recipient of the 2003 AACR Richard & Hinda Rosenthal Award, a 2007-2017 ACS Clinical Research Professor Award, the 2009 Gianni Bonadonna Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the 2011 Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation. As of 2012, he serves in the Scientific Advisory Board of the Komen Foundation. He has chaired the AACR Special Conference ‘Advances in Breast Cancer Research’ since 2003 and has served as AACR co-chair of the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium since 2009. He is Deputy Editor of Clinical Cancer Research and member of the Editorial Board of Cancer Cell and six other peer-reviewed journals. He serves on the advisory boards of several academic Breast Cancer Programs and NCI-designated Cancer Centers. In 2013, he was voted by the AACR members as President Elect of the American Association for Cancer Research, the largest cancer research organization in the world.

Ingrid Mayer, M.D., M.S.C.I., graduated medical school in 1993 at the Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. She completed her Internal Medicine Residency and Chief Residency in 1998 at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she also did her Hematology/ Oncology Fellowship training from 1998 through 2001. During this time, she worked in the laboratory setting with MAPK signaling pathway in Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, for which she received an American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Young Investigator Award.

In 2003, Dr. Mayer became an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology/ Oncology at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, where she completed a Master of Science in Clinical Investigation (MSCI) Program in May 2006. She has obtained intramural support through the Vanderbilt Physician Scientist Development (VPSD) Award Program and a Cancer Center Grant Support (CCSG) Award to identify relevant tumor antigens/targets in breast cancer tumor samples. She has intensively worked in translational projects related to targeted therapies in breast cancer, obtaining a Pilot Project from the Breast Cancer SPORE in 2005. She has also obtained a Breast Cancer Research Foundation American Association for Cancer Research (BCRF-AACR) Grant for Translational Breast Cancer Research to explore combined endocrine and ErbB inhibition in ER+/HER2+ breast cancers in 2007, a K23 Career Development Award to explore targeted therapies in breast cancer, and is also co-Leader in three of the four research projects of the NCI-funded Vanderbilt Breast Cancer Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE; Carlos Arteaga, Director).

Dr. Mayer is a key component of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) Breast Cancer Program, where her role is to implement and conduct investigator-initiated, mechanism-based clinical and translational trials in breast cancer, focusing in novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. Administratively, she directs the Clinical Core of the VICC Breast Cancer SPORE. She is a member of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) Breast Committee, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Breast Cancer Panel of Experts, and had served in the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Scientific Review Committee for two years.

Areas Of Program Expertise

Specific themes of investigation, most of which are connected to clinical trials based in the program, include:

  • Role of PI3K inhibitors in resistance to antiestrogens in ER+ breast cancer
  • Molecular sub-classification of triple negative breast cancer and discovery of novel treatment targets
  • Prediction of anti-cancer drug action and treatment response with non-invasive imaging
  • Role of ERBB3 in mammary gland development, transformation and adaptive resistance
  • Role of TGFβ in cancer stem-like behavior and tumor progression
  • Obesity as a metabolic marker of breast cancer risk in African Americans
  • Discovery of actionable therapy targets in drug-resistant breast tumors after neoadjuvant therapy
  • Innovative clinical trials with targeted therapies and combinations

Program Members