Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) Research Foundation, Susan G. Komen®, and the Milburn Foundation® have again come together to become a powerful force against inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) – an aggressive subtype of breast cancer that is challenging to diagnose and treat. Together, the organizations raised more than $850,000 for research aimed at finding new, innovative diagnostic tools and treatment options for IBC.
Earlier this year, IBC Research Foundation and Milburn matched all donations to Komen up to $50,000, and far exceeded their goal to raise $250,000 in funds specifically for research into IBC.
IBC is a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer because it can be missed on a mammogram, doesn’t usually present with a lump, is often misdiagnosed, and spreads quickly. In fact, about 30 percent of those diagnosed with IBC are initially diagnosed with metastatic disease, meaning their cancer has already spread to other parts of the body. Clinical trials for new therapies often either restrict enrollment of IBC patients or combine their outcomes with non-IBC patients, limiting our understanding of this form of breast cancer.
Through this partnership, a focus group of clinicians, researchers and advocates who are experts in the field of IBC convened to identify the most critical questions in IBC and IBC research. Through this patient directed conversation, several vital challenges were identified, including how inflammatory breast cancer is defined in the clinic and for research. The group has developed a set of recommendations to address the challenge of diagnosis, which will be presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in December.
“In our twenty years of IBC research and patient advocacy, we have consistently stressed the need for better definition and diagnostic guidelines for IBC,” said Ginny Mason, Executive Director of the IBC Research Foundation. “We are very pleased that this year’s impressive matching campaign will support continued collaborative work to resolve these long-standing issues, resulting in more timely diagnosis and hopefully saving lives that would have been stolen by IBC.”
“We know treatment options for IBC are lacking, and with few clinical trials focused solely on IBC, there have been few improvements in treatment,” said Paula Schneider, President and CEO of Susan G. Komen. “We must continue to make IBC and metastatic breast cancer a research priority in order to help save the more than 42,000 lives lost each year in the U.S. to metastatic breast cancer. Partnerships like this help us make an even greater impact than we ever could alone.”
“By working hard together, this partnership has amplified the strengths of each organization to bring a potentially significant advancement in IBC to fruition,” said Bryon Davis, President and CEO of the Milburn Foundation. “Our collective work being presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium is the first of multiple critical milestones aimed at changing the research landscape in IBC.”
The partnership between the three organizations has now raised more than $2.44 million to date, thanks to earlier matching gift campaigns beginning in 2016. Funds raised have made it possible to invest in breakthrough research, including studies in IBC, aggressive and metastatic breast cancers.