Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare form of breast cancer which accounts for only 2% to 6% of all cases of breast cancers, but it is a highly aggressive disease with a poor prognosis (5 year survival rate of 40%). Inflammatory breast cancer is characterized by rapid disease progression and early distant metastatic disease progression. Patients are frequently misdiagnosed and life saving treatment is delayed. The delay in diagnosis and treatment can directly relate to significant progression of disease and decreased survival.
All aspects of treating inflammatory breast cancer – including staging, diagnosis, and therapy – are vastly different than other breast cancers. For women with inflammatory breast cancer, finding a medical team experienced in treating the rare disease is paramount. In 2006, MD Anderson Cancer Center unveiled the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Program and Clinic. Just one year later, the clinic and research program were renamed for Morgan Welch, a young woman who died from IBC at the age of 24. Read more about the history of the program.
Although inflammatory breast cancer is the most aggressive form of breast cancer and has distinctive biological features, current treatment is still based on conventional regimens of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy developed for other types of breast cancer. There has been little change in overall survival rates in the last 30 years and there are not therapeutic regimens developed specifically for inflammatory breast cancer.
Our comprehensive multi-disciplinary team is collectively focused on developing methods for identification of specific genomic and proteomic signatures of inflammatory breast cancer. These signatures will guide us in developing tools for diagnosis, identifying therapeutic approaches specifically for treatment of inflammatory breast cancer, and enhancing imaging approaches to assist in detecting the disease and evaluating the effectiveness of treatment for inflammatory breast cancer patients. The ultimate goal is to improve survival of inflammatory breast cancer patients.
The IBC Multi-Team Clinic launched in August 2015 at our Nellie B. Connally Breast Center, continues to serve our patients. Our highly specialized multi-disciplinary physicians work together to create a personalized treatment plan. In just one appointment and one place, patients can meet their radiation, surgical and medical oncologists, and leave with a plan of action and peace of mind that comes from having the best physicians care for them, every step of the way.
Our vision is to be the world's premier center for treatment and prevention of IBC through multidisciplinary and collaborative research.
Our mission is to reduce the suffering and enhance the survival rate of IBC patients by developing innovative biomarkers and personalized targeted therapy based on value-driven translational and clinical research, and through nurturing and inspiring a new generation of oncologu investigators.
1. Determine the microenvironment changes that drive IBC and can be developed as IBC specific treatment targets or diagnostic tools
2. Determine cancer specific genetic, proteomic or metabolomics changes unique to IBC that can be developed as IBC specific treatment targets or diagnostic tools.
3. Provide the best precision/personalized medical care and treatment for our patients with IBC.
4. Determine the molecular risk factors that lead to development of IBC.
5. Explore novel technologies to aid the early detection of IBC.
6. Disseminate the highest quality information that will help, educate and guide patients with IBC.