When it comes to breast cancer research and finding effective treatments, collaboration and data sharing are key. Melissa Bondy, Ph.D., is ShareForCures™ Chief Scientist and at the forefront of developing and implementing Susan G. Komen’s innovative new initiative.
ShareForCures is a breast cancer research registry that connects researchers with information from people who have or had breast cancer. When participants from diverse backgrounds share their breast cancer data with Komen’s registry, scientists have a larger and more diverse pool of data to make new discoveries in the search for breast cancer cures for everyone.
“Sharing is learning. Being able to do more with research will hopefully find a cure for this disease,” Dr. Bondy said. “As ShareForCures grows, researchers will be able to learn more and understand the disease process so that we can help people around the world.”
Dr. Bondy is no stranger to Komen: she is a former Komen Scholar and Scientific Advisory Board member. She is also a renowned epidemiologist who has been driven by a desire to understand the causes of cancer, particularly breast cancer, and find ways to reduce its risk. Her passion for this area of study led her to work on projects, some funded by Komen, that validated risk prediction models and explore genetic markers for recurrence and metastasis. Notably, she focuses on understanding breast cancer factors within historically marginalized populations, emphasizing the importance of inclusivity and representation in research.
“Through ShareForCures, we want to offer researchers access to populations that would be most difficult to have in their own studies,” Dr. Bondy explained,” and we want to have data that others would have more difficulty being able to collect on their own.”
Dr. Bondy believes that everyone’s personal journey through breast cancer matters. By participating in research and sharing their data, individuals can contribute to shaping the future of breast cancer treatment and prevention. Sharing data allows researchers to better understand risk factors, develop accurate prediction models of who may develop breast cancer, progress, what care plan might be best and how one may react to treatments. It can also lead to identifying new and more effective treatments.
“Everybody’s personal journey through breast cancer is important – whether they have an early-stage breast cancer or one that does metastasize,” Dr. Bondy said. “We’ve learned so much from people sharing their data through research. More people participating in research through ShareForCures really helps us to try to understand who might develop breast cancer in the future.”
Understandably, some may feel uncertain or uncomfortable about sharing their personal information. To help address these concerns, Komen is deeply committed to safeguarding everyone’s data. ShareForCures adheres to established security measures and follows applicable guidelines, regulations and laws that protect the privacy of participants and the security of health and research data.
Dr. Bondy firmly believes that sharing data leads to greater learning and progress in breast cancer research. By participating in ShareForCures, people become an integral part of the global effort to cure breast cancer. Ultimately, the goal is to empower people to participate in research and improve outcomes for all those affected by breast cancer.
“We want to include people in ShareForCures who have all kinds of different stories,” Dr. Bondy said. “We want them to understand that they have the power to make a difference in finding the cures for this disease.”
When you join ShareForCures, you can help accelerate the search for breast cancer breakthroughs. With thousands of others, you can help make our vision of a world without breast cancer a reality. Learn more about ShareForCures today.