Dr. Otto W. Sartorius, a breast cancer surgeon and researcher, began the Foundation as The Santa Barbara Breast Cancer Institute in 1983. The Institute's goal was to initiate and pursue research programs and promote breast disease education.
Dr. Sartorius believed the key to unlocking the door to discovery for breast cancer causes and prevention was in research focused on the breast ducts and nipple aspiration. In the 1970s, he became known as the researcher who wanted to develop a "Pap" test to detect breast cancer, similar to the Pap test used to detect cervical cancer.
Dr. Sartorius passed away in December 1994. The Institute's board of directors was committed to keeping his vision alive and to expanding the scope of his work. Their search for a medical director with passion, vision, and excitement about breast cancer and the intraductal approach led them to Dr. Susan Love. In 1995, Dr. Love became the Institute's medical director.
The Institute's name was changed to The Susan Love MD Breast Cancer Research Foundation in 2000 to honor Dr. Love and her visionary work. Since then, Dr. Love has expanded the Foundation nationally and increased its funding base. In 2004, the Foundation, renamed Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, moved from Santa Barbara to Pacific Palisades, in Los Angeles. The Foundation continues to make its home in the Los Angeles area.