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South Bend institute gets cancer research funding

NOW: South Bend institute gets cancer research funding

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- The Harper Cancer Research Institute in South Bend is approved for a $4 million project to create more resources, research space and infrastructure to the facility.

The University of Notre Dame and Indiana School of Medicine South Bend collaborated to study cancer-specific problems at Harper Hall.

The facility first launched in 2011 and both faculty and students partake in state of the art research at the institute.

“We know that it’s research that ultimately kills cancer,” said Sharon Stack, Director of Harper Cancer Research Institute and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Notre Dame.

Stack told ABC 57 that cancer is complicated, but with more and more research the team is one step closer to understanding the cures.

The lower level of the facility is home to a dark, dusty basement with cinderblock walls. The new funding approval will now turn that basement into a preclinical therapeutics facility.

“It’ll impact research at Harper by allowing us to take our basic research observations to the next level toward clinical care by performing preclinical testing,” said Stack.

With the current conditions, the testing of the drugs that researchers find is completed through an outside source, and that testing can come with a high price.

“You’d have to go somewhere else,” said Stewart Bullock, Associate Director of Harper Cancer Institute. “You’d have to interact with a clinical research organization or spend a lot of money to do that testing and we’ll be able to do that here. It’s one more step in the fight against cancer and it’s going to be on campus, in South Bend,” explained Bullock.

Researchers at Harper will now be able to test the drugs that their own researchers find in-house which will cut costs and the need for an outside source, bringing their research one step closer to patient care.

“We’ve been waiting for this for a long time, we’ve been working toward it, trying to get the funding together,” said Stack. “We’re really excited to take out research to the next level toward patient care,” said Stack.

Stack told ABC 57 that big breakthroughs in cancer research stem from the basic research conducted, similar to the research done at Harper Hall.

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