Alumnus recognized for cancer research contributions
James Ingle ’66, an internationally recognized breast cancer expert, received the 2014 William L. McGuire Memorial Lecture Award on Dec. 10 at the 2014 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
Ingle is a professor of oncology and the Foust Professor in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota. He has been the leader of breast cancer research at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, serving as program co-leader of the women’s cancer program with responsibility for breast cancer. He is currently co-director of the Mayo Clinic Breast Cancer Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE). SPORE grants are funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and are the major NCI translational research grants in which clinicians and basic scientists work together to conduct the most promising research.
Ingle’s research has had a significant impact on clinical practice. He has a long track record of leading or co-leading studies in breast cancer, first with tamoxifen and then with aromatase inhibitors, which are the two major endocrine therapies in breast cancer. More recently, Ingle has a leadership role in the Mayo Clinic Pharmacogenomic Research Network, leading multiple genome-wide association studies to investigate genetic variability in patients’ response to tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors as well as chemotherapy. This work is central to developing precision medicine in which the right dose of the right drug is given to the right patient.
One facet of the research Ingle and his colleagues are conducting relates to the identification of genetic biomarkers that can predict who is most likely to benefit from selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) therapies, such as tamoxifen and raloxifene, for breast cancer prevention.
Studying the largest collection of patients worldwide treated with SERM therapy, they have identified two genetic markers that are associated with prevention of breast cancer in women at high risk of developing breast cancer. The same genes are involved in regulation of the BRCA genes and so may also be important in selecting patients, not only for SERM therapy but also for other targeted drugs that are being studied in the laboratory. Researchers hope these studies will lead to more personalized approaches to breast cancer prevention for women with high risk.
Ingle has served on numerous national and international bodies including those at the National Institutes of Health, the NCI Breast Cancer Steering Committee and the St. Gallen Consensus Conferences. His research has been supported through multiple sources including the National Institutes of Health, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and many generous benefactors including Bruce and Martha Atwater.