Susan G. Komen Announces $26 Million Investment in New Research to Find Solutions for Aggressive and Metastatic Breast Cancers, and to Help Communities Most at Risk

California Researchers Receive $1,249,977 in Research Funding. San Diego-based Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute to Receive $449,977 in Research Funding

DALLAS – Sept. 25, 2018 – Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, today announced an additional investment of nearly $26 million to fund 62 new research projects that seek to answer some of the toughest questions facing breast cancer. This new funding is part of the organization’s efforts to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths in the U.S. by 50 percent by 2026 and brings its total research investment to $988 million to date – the largest nonprofit investment outside the U.S. government.

The grants include $1,249,977 in new funding for research at three institutions in California, bringing Komen’s total research investment in California to $80,692,028 since 1982.

“This year, Komen is investing in a number of areas that will help us achieve our bold goal and save lives. We are seeking answers to why our current drugs work for some patients, but not all, or why they work at first, but later become ineffective,” said Komen Chief Scientific Advisor, George Sledge, M.D., Chief of Oncology at Stanford University Department of Medicine. “We are also looking into aggressive forms of the disease like triple negative and inflammatory breast cancer, which tend to have poorer outcomes. By investigating novel techniques and therapies, we hope to bring new treatment options to patients.”

The newly announced grants will investigate critical areas in breast cancer research, including (but not limited to) projects focused on one or more of the following:

  • Drug Resistance and Metastasis (40 grants, representing 70 percent of the grants awarded)
  • Triple Negative Breast Cancer (23 grants)
  • New Treatments (38 grants) such as Immunotherapies (9 grants)
  • Health Disparities (8 grants)

This year, Komen’s competitive grant program for young investigators was entirely focused on drug resistance and metastatic disease. “Komen continues its long-standing investment in the next generation of scientists, to ensure that brilliant researchers whose careers are just beginning have funding to pursue their novel ideas,” said Komen Chief Scientific Advisor, Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., Executive Vice President for Research and Director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “We are proud that this investment includes opportunities for 23 innovative and inspired researchers to lead the way in making breast cancer discoveries that will improve care for all and help save lives.” 

“More than 41,000 women and men will lose their lives to breast cancer this year alone. I lost my mother to the disease a few years back, and I myself have been treated for aggressive triple negative breast cancer. The idea that it could impact my daughters is unacceptable,” said Komen President and CEO Paula Schneider. “We all have a personal reason or passion that we support the fight against breast cancer, and we’re proud to invite people to support the work that means the most to them. It will take all of us working together to save lives and ultimately end this disease.”

Komen’s Investments in California

Komen’s research program is funded in part by contributions from Komen’s nationwide Network of Affiliates, which directs a portion of funds raised locally to Komen’s national research program, while also investing in vital community programs that serve local women and men facing breast cancer.

Since 1996, Komen San Diego has funded $13,716,571 to community programs serving local women and men, while contributing $5,930,556 to Komen research.

“We are so thankful for the friends, family and neighbors that fight alongside us, helping to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths in California, both on the ground and through research,” said Shaina Gross, president and CEO, Susan G. Komen San Diego. 

In San Diego and across the state, Komen is granting to the following researchers:

  • Svasti Haricharan, Ph.D., from Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, will receive $449,977 to develop a diagnostic assay that could predict which ER+ breast cancer patients may become resistant to hormone therapies. This would identify patients with an inability to repair damaged DNA, often seen in treatment-resistant cancers. Dr. Haricharan will also determine if existing FDA-approved drugs could be used to overcome treatment resistance.
  • Komen Scholar Alan Ashworth, Ph.D., from University of California, San Francisco, will receive $200,000 to expand his genomics research to identify new breast cancer biomarkers and develop drugs that target these new biomarkers. This could provide better treatment options and improve outcomes for both women and men facing breast cancer.
  • Komen Scholar Melinda Telli, M.D., from Stanford University, will receive $600,000 to support a clinical trial that will evaluate changes in the immune system in response to therapy in triple negative breast cancer. This will further develop a novel therapy, called Tavo-EP, which may enhance the patient’s immune system and improve responses to current immunotherapy.

San Diego also has two additional ongoing grants, awarded in previous years, with Komen Scholar Geoffrey Wahl, Ph.D., of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Jia Shen, Ph.D., of the University of California, San Diego.

Research has been a cornerstone of Komen’s work since opening its doors in 1982. Komen also works to inspire action through advocacy and public policy, to mobilize communities through support services and opportunities to make a local impact, and provide the care that patients need (including screening, diagnostics, treatment and navigation).


About Susan G. Komen®

Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit outside of the federal government while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Komen has set a Bold Goal to reduce the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the U.S. by 2026. Since its founding in 1982, Komen has funded more than $988 million in research and provided more than $2.2 billion in funding to screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs serving millions of people in more than 60 countries worldwide. Komen was founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life. That promise has become Komen’s promise to all people facing breast cancer. Visit komen.org or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at ww5.komen.org/social.

Grants are contingent upon signed and executed contracts with Komen.

About Susan G. Komen San Diego®

Since its inception in 1995, Susan G. Komen San Diego has invested more than $19.6 million to global breast cancer research and local breast health services. Susan G. Komen is the largest nonprofit funder of breast cancer research outside of the U.S. government and much of that investment has been awarded to scientists in San Diego. Nearly 70 percent of our research investment is focused on metastatic disease. Locally, Komen San Diego provides free mammograms, biopsies, ultrasounds, MRIs, care coordination, education and financial assistance for breast cancer patients’ most critical needs during treatment. The organization also has a robust public policy and advocacy arm to ensure healthcare access and scientific progress. Komen has set a Bold Goal to reduce the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the U.S. by 2026. Seventy-five percent of every dollar raised in San Diego stays in San Diego County to fund breast health services for uninsured and underinsured women and their families. The remaining 25 percent funds international breast cancer research. For more information, please visit www.komensandiego.org. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.

 

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