The Breast Cancer Center of Excellence (BCCOE), co-directed by Lance D. Miller, PhD (Cancer Biology) and Alexandra Thomas, MD (Internal Medicine), is a multidisciplinary, cross-programmatic group of basic scientists, epidemiologists and clinicians with diverse and complementary interests in translational breast cancer research.

Established in 1999 by Drs. Steve Akman and Frank Torti to advance the impact of breast cancer research at the Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Cancer Center (WFBCCC), the BCCOE endeavors to develop novel and innovative approaches to fight breast cancer by facilitating cross-disciplinary collaborations aimed at moving scientific concepts from the laboratory to the clinic, with an emphasis on team science strategies that enable the funding and expansion of our research initiatives.

The Breast Cancer Center of Excellence (BCCOE) of the Comprehensive Cancer Center of Wake Forest University concentrates its research efforts on four specific themes:

  • Biology of breast carcinogenesis and malignant progression
  • Analysis of large data sets (“omics”) for identification of breast cancer predictive markers
  • Quality of life and survivorship issues
  • Novel imaging and therapeutics

Collaborative Breast Cancer Research

The BCCOE promotes collaborative research among basic scientists, public health scientists and clinical researchers that addresses important questions regarding breast cancer including:

  • Etiology
  • Pathogenesis
  • Screening and diagnosis
  • Therapy
  • Outcome
  • Survivorship

Members of all four programs of the WFBCCC participate in BCCOE activities, and the BCCOE supports the activities and goals of the WFBCCC programs. Strategic research areas within the BCCOE include therapeutic targeting, biomarker discovery, regulation of anti-tumor immunity, brain metastasis and Obesity and metabolism.

Breast Cancer Care for Patients

The clinical arm of our research is managed through the Breast Care Center, which enables the BCCOE to initiate a variety of translational research projects aimed at applying what is learned in research to better treat and diagnose patients.

Monthly Meetings

BCCOE members meet monthly to focus on:

  • Identification and development of new collaborative research opportunities
  • Research progress updates by BCCOE members
  • Seminars given by invited visiting breast cancer researchers
  • Updates of high-impact findings at national or international meetings

The monthly meetings are augmented by an annual BCCOE retreat that features the participation of an invited, nationally prominent breast cancer researcher.