Get the latest news and updates from Susan G. Komen

Blog  |  Newsroom

Susan G. Komen® Announces $500,000 Investment From Blue Cross NC For Research Into Disparities In Metastatic Breast Cancer

Funding Will Support New Collaborative Research Grant for Researchers at Duke University and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill to Explore the Disparities in Metastatic Breast Cancer Outcomes in African American Women

Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, today announced a $500,000 investment from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) for a new collaborative research grant as part of the Komen Metastatic Breast Cancer Collaborative Research Initiative. The funding helped Komen raise close to $1 million for the initiative.

Blue Cross NC’s investment will help fund grants for researchers at both Duke Cancer Institute and the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center for the purpose of collaborating on research into the tragic disparities in mortality between Black women living with stage IV, metastatic breast cancer (MBC), and their white counterparts.

“We are honored to support research aimed at better understanding and treating metastatic breast cancer, particularly in African American women,” said Dr. Kia Williams, associate medical director at Blue Cross NC. “This collaborative effort is a significant step towards addressing the medical, socioeconomic and systemic contributors to the disparities in metastatic breast cancer outcomes.”

The Komen Metastatic Breast Cancer Collaborative Research Initiative was launched in 2019 to bring together Komen and researchers at two of the world’s most renowned cancer centers – Duke Cancer Institute and the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center – to develop treatments that will help people living with MBC to live longer, better lives. Both institutions are committed to understanding and solving the devastating consequences of MBC and the disparities that result in Black women and men.

“The generous support of Blue Cross NC brings us closer to finding breakthrough discoveries to end MBC for everyone,” said Pam Kohl, Development Director, MBC Research Initiative. “We are grateful for the investment and for the commitment these leading institutions have made to the research that will lead to equitable treatments and eventually a cure for this disease.”

MBC is the most advanced stage of breast cancer, known as stage IV, where breast tumor cells have spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones, liver, lungs or brain. In the U.S., it’s estimated that at least 168,000 women are living with MBC. This year, more than 44,000 women and men in the U.S. are expected to die from breast cancer, most of them from MBC. There is currently no cure for the disease and treatment focuses on controlling the spread of the cancer.

Reporters interested in an interview about the investment or Komen Metastatic Breast Cancer Collaborative Research Initiative can email