National cancer organization honors IU Simon Cancer Center's Dr. Schneider

INDIANAPOLIS -- (May 21, 2012) -- An Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center physician-researcher recently was named an outstanding leader by a national cancer organization.

Bryan Schneider, M.D., associate professor of medicine and of medical and molecular genetics at IU School of Medicine, was selected as the ECOG (Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group) Research and Education Foundation Young Investigator Award recipient during a ceremony on May 5 in Boston.

The award recognizes young investigators under the age of 46 who have made substantial scientific or administrative contributions to ECOG, a membership-based research network whose large-scale cancer treatment clinical trials for major diseases have changed the standard of care for adult cancer patients and helped to individualize their therapy. The Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center and Dr. Schneider are members of ECOG.

In nominating Dr. Schneider, Patrick Loehrer, M.D., director of the IU Simon Cancer Center and H.H. Gregg Professor of Oncology at IU School of Medicine, wrote: “In his relatively short academic career, Bryan has excelled.”

While a fellow, Dr. Schneider began a real-world study -- a study to examine whether the genes of women without breast cancer were different from those with the disease. He and several colleagues developed the procedures and protocols for collecting, processing, and storing specimens from women without breast cancer. They designed a questionnaire, recruited volunteers, and managed the data they eventually collected at the 2005 Komen Indianapolis Race for the Cure. In all, they collected more than 1,200 blood samples the day of the race. Equally important, this proved that women would willingly donate blood or tissue to help in the fight against breast cancer and played a crucial role in the establishment of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Tissue Bank at IU Simon Cancer Center in 2007.

In 2009, Dr. Schneider earned a $5.8 million Promise Grant from Susan G. Komen for the Cure. With the Promise Grant, Dr. Schneider and colleagues hoped to establish biomarkers that physicians could use to better predict which breast cancer patients would benefit from specific treatments and which cancer patients would suffer significant side effects. Dr. Schneider and colleagues did just that as they recently identified a genetic biomarker that causes neuropathy among some breast cancer patients using a class of chemotherapy drugs called taxanes. Neuropathy is a nerve problem that can cause pain, numbness, tingling, burning, or muscle weakness in different parts of the body, especially the fingertips and feet. It is one of the first genetic biomarkers to have been reported for neuropathy caused by taxanes, which includes paclitaxel or Taxol. The finding may eventually lead to a blood test to determine if a patient is at risk of developing neuropathy.

Dr. Schneider, who has yet to turn 40, is also the Shawn Hanson Investigator in Breast Cancer Research and associate director of the Indiana Institute for Personalized Medicine. About ECOG and the ECOG Research and Education Foundation

The ECOG Research and Education Foundation is a charitable organization whose mission is to fund scientific research into the causes and treatment of neoplastic diseases, and to educate physicians and the public regarding such diseases, particularly as they relate to the activities of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG). In May 2012, ECOG merged with the oncology program of the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN), whose clinical trials encompass the full range of medical imaging research, from landmark cancer screening trials to early phase trials evaluating imaging biomarkers and novel imaging technologies. The ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group designs and conducts clinical research along the cancer care continuum with an integrated focus on therapeutic, diagnostic, preventative, and biomarker-driven trials.