$14 Million in Funding to Leading and Rising Scientists; Programs to Study Recurrence, Treatment Resistance, Metastatic Breast Cancer, Disparities and More!
Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, today announced the awarding of 30 new grants to researchers at 18 leading institutions in the U.S. and Canada. The $14 million in new grants support our mission to end breast cancer through funding two key focus areas: research to better detect and treat stage IV (metastatic) breast cancer and research to eliminate disparities in breast cancer outcomes.
“We are extremely proud to be able to continue our legacy of leading investments in breast cancer research, especially in light of the challenges all nonprofits faced raising funds during this pandemic year,” said Paula Schneider, president and CEO of Susan G. Komen and a breast cancer survivor. “This investment reinforces our commitment to funding innovative science from some of the leading minds in breast cancer research while also developing the next generation of scientists at a time when we have never needed them more.”
With our research grant funding overall, we are focused on:
- Supporting leaders in the field of breast cancer research
- Building the next generation of breast cancer researchers to lead the field
- Improving how we detect, prevent and treat metastatic breast cancer, and
- Addressing disparities in breast cancer care and outcomes.
Investing in the next generation of breast cancer researchers has long been a priority for Komen. Since 2008, the organization has invested more than $110 million to support 250 early career scientists. This year’s grant slate includes seven Career Catalyst awards focused on utilizing liquid biopsies to improve treatment, detection and understanding of metastatic breast cancer. These grants will help unlock the potential of liquid biopsy as a simpler, more timely way to monitor cancer progression, monitor the cancer’s response to treatment, and ultimately improve patient outcomes and quality of life.
“Applying the latest molecular biology technology to the major problem of evolving resistance to cancer therapy through innovative use of so-called “liquid biopsies” is an approach poised to alter how we treat, and beat, dangerous breast cancers,” said George Sledge, MD, Komen’s Chief Scientific Advisor.
Komen is also committed to increasing the number of researchers focused on breast cancer disparities. Through Komen’s TREND (Training Researchers to Eliminate Disparities) program, grants to the University of Chicago, The Ohio State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will continue to support the training and career development of young researchers from diverse backgrounds who are looking to dedicate their careers to understanding and eliminating disparities in breast cancer care and outcomes.
In addition to the emerging leader and training grants, Komen’s new investments include awards to some of the world’s leaders in the field through our Komen Scholars program, including the six new Scholars announced last week. These funds will support research on a range of issues, from:
- evaluating treatment response and recurrence risk among high-risk ER+/HER2-negative breast cancer patients,
- utilizing big data and artificial intelligence as a tool to advance research discoveries,
- leveraging the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells,
- understanding how one’s diet and lifestyle may impact recurrence risk, and
- working to develop a breast cancer vaccine, among other projects.
This year’s awards also include new funding for:
- The Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium (TBCRC), a collaboration of 19 of the top U.S. academic medical centers administered out of Johns Hopkins University and led by Komen Scholar, Antonio Wolff, M.D., that conducts high-impact clinical trials and translational research projects. This year’s award brings Komen’s total investment in the TBCRC to $15.5 million. The TBCRC has developed 57 breast cancer clinical trials with over 5,500 patients enrolled. About half of TBCRC trials since 2006 have focused on metastatic breast cancer, drug resistance and/or recurrence.
- The Carolina Breast Cancer Study (CBCS), led by investigators from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, seeks to understand the complex interactions of ‘biology and access’ that contribute to disparities in breast cancer outcomes. Now in Phase III, the study will collect detailed quality of life and health care access information, along with tumor subtype and treatment information, and will enable researchers to design new interventions that improve survivorship and quality of life among people with breast cancer.
- Dr. Jennifer Miller at Yale University to build and pilot a new tool to help improve transparency and representativeness of U.S. breast cancer patients in breast cancer clinical trials.
Komen has now invested about $1.1 billion in research in the nearly 40 years since its founding, the largest collective investment of any breast cancer nonprofit, and second only to the U.S. government.
Visit komen.org for a full list of this year’s research grants.