Vera Bradley Foundation pledges $15 million to IU Simon Cancer Center

Jan. 10, 2014

The Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer announced today a $15 million pledge to support breast cancer research at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center.


The IU Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center | Photo By Brian Drumm

This new pledge adds to the previous $20 million in commitments completed in November 2013 and will continue to fund the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer Research Laboratories, named for the foundation in 2010. The completion of this pledge will bring the total giving to the IU Simon Cancer Center to $35 million.

“We strongly believe in the research team’s focus: precision therapeutics,” said Catherine Hill, executive director of Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer. “Stated simply, precision therapeutics is giving the right medicine to the right patient at the right time based on genetic factors of both the patient and the tumor.”

“Since 1998, the Vera Bradley Foundation has been the IU Simon Cancer Center’s partner in conducting breast cancer research that is saving and extending the lives of women everywhere,” said Patrick J. Loehrer Sr., M.D., director of the IU Simon Cancer Center and H. H. Gregg Professor of Oncology. “Their $15 million pledge is a testament to their commitment to make a difference in women’s lives.”

“The researchers at the IU Simon Cancer Center will honor the trust they have placed in us by our commitment to our mission to conduct novel, collaborative research that has a meaningful impact on patients with cancer and to train the next generation of scientists to carry forward this mission.”

The gift will support IU researchers as they:

  • Search for gene alterations that drive specific subtypes of breast cancer and look for new or existing drugs that are more likely to be effective
  • Identify genetic markers that will allow them to predict, with a high level of accuracy, who will suffer from life-changing and life-threatening side effects to treatment, or whose cancer is likely to metastasize
  • Combine this knowledge to deliver clinical trials to patients with the goal of improving cure rates and quality of life

The gift will also establish the Vera Bradley Foundation Scholars Program to train scientists and physicians who will be the future leaders in breast cancer research and care. As a result of support from the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer, the number of IU researchers focused on breast cancer has grown to 38, up from six in 1999.

“We are extraordinarily grateful for the commitment and generosity of The Vera Bradley Foundation, which is emerging as one of the nation’s leading supporters of breast cancer research. This generous pledge will help the IU School of Medicine further advance not only its research and education missions, but also to translate these findings to improve the health of women with breast cancer,” said Jay Hess, M.D., Ph.D., MHSA, dean of the IU School of Medicine and vice president for university clinical affairs at IU.

The Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer recently completed its 2013 fiscal year, raising $2.7 million. The Foundation’s main benefactor is Vera Bradley Inc., which contributes approximately $1 million each year to the cause. Additional support comes from several sources, including events and individual donations. Vera Bradley’s co-founders began raising funds for a cure after the loss of a dear friend to the disease in 1993.

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