Five Recipients Are Advancing Research And Transforming Patient Care
Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, will present awards to four dedicated physician scientists and a pioneering research advocate for their work to drive discoveries and improve breast cancer patient outcomes. They will be recognized tonight at the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Awards event in San Antonio.
The awardees are Olufunmilayo F. Olopade, MBBS, FAACR, FASCO; Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FASCO, FACP; Sara M. Tolaney, MD, MPH; Gaorav P. Gupta, MD, PhD, and Patricia A. Spears, BS, FASCO.
“This year’s recipients are distinguished leaders in their fields and have dedicated their careers to improving outcomes so the next person diagnosed with breast cancer can have a more personalized treatment plan and a better long-term outcome, and for this, the entire breast cancer community is grateful for their contributions,” said Ann Partridge, MD, MPH, Co-Chief Scientific Advisor at Susan G. Komen, and Vice Chair of Medical Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Susan G. Komen Brinker Awardees
Komen established the Brinker Award in 1992 to honor leaders in basic science and clinical research. This evening’s awardees have made significant contributions in breast cancer research and clinical practice, both of which are critical to fighting this disease. They have advanced our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the genesis of breast cancer (Basic Science) and have pioneered advances in breast cancer care (Clinical Research).
Olufunmilayo F. Olopade, MBBS, FAACR, FASCO, received the Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science. Dr. Olopade’s research has identified cancer-predisposing gene variants that are prevalent in certain ancestral populations, leading to ground-breaking translational work in hereditary breast cancer and cancer risk assessment. Her work has substantially improved our ability to identify women at high risk for breast cancer, greatly increasing the odds of prevention and early detection, including for women living in under-resourced communities around the world.
Dr. Olopade is the Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine and Human Genetics, Founding Director of the Center for Clinical Cancer Genetics and Associate Dean for Global Health at The University of Chicago. She is also a Komen Scholar.
Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FASCO, FACP, received the Brinker Award for Clinical Research. Dr. Hayes has created tumor biomarker tests that are used around the world to assess prognosis and predict chemotherapy response, recurrence, and treatment side effects in patients. His work has accelerated the development of precision care and treatment for breast cancer patients and enabled precise monitoring of patients after therapy, so that they receive the treatment that is best for them individually.
Dr. Hayes is the Stuart B. Padnos Professor of Breast Cancer Research at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center and Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School Division of Hematology/Oncology.
Susan G. Komen Rising Star Researchers
This award is new in 2023 and is given to mid-career investigators, whose work shows potential to significantly impact the field of breast cancer research and who demonstrate strong leadership potential in the breast cancer community.
Sara M. Tolaney, MD, MPH, is recognized for her significant contributions to the development of novel treatment regimens that improve breast cancer outcomes while involving less toxic therapies, thus enhancing patient quality of life. She serves as the Chief of the Division of Breast Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, as well as the Associate Director of the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers. She is a Senior Physician at Dana-Farber and an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School.
Gaorav P. Gupta, MD, PhD, is renowned for his seminal research on the interplay between genome integrity pathways and breast cancer initiation, progression and response to therapy. His research will translate to innovative ways of monitoring treatment, including the use of non-invasive “liquid biopsy” tests to monitor treatment and to personalize radiotherapy and other cancer treatments. He is an Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Associate Chair for Research in the Department of Radiation Oncology, and co-leader of the Breast Cancer Program at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Susan G. Komen Research Advocacy Champion
Also new in 2023, the Research Advocacy Champion Award is presented to an emerging or established leader in research advocacy who is highly effective in ensuring that the unique and valuable perspectives of breast cancer patients, survivors and co-survivors are integrated into the scientific dialogue to drive progress, improve patient outcomes, and help realize Komen’s vision of a world without breast cancer.
Patricia A. Spears, BS, FASCO, scientific research manager and director of the Patient Advocates for Research Council at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and Komen Advocates in Science,is a renowned cancer research patient advocate who brings her personal experience as a breast cancer survivor of 20-plus years, a recent liver cancer survivor and a laboratory scientist to her advocacy work. She is honored for her decades-long commitment to research advocacy and manner in which she has advanced breast cancer research by sharing patient insights with researchers, advancing clinical trials, communicating research to the public, and mentoring the next generation of patient advocates.
“The field of breast cancer is better today because of these five outstanding individuals and their dedication to furthering our understanding of the disease, to discovering new therapies, and to ensuring people diagnosed with breast cancer can live their fullest and best lives. I am thrilled that Komen is recognizing each of them for the countless ways they have impacted millions of people affected by breast cancer,” said Jennifer A. Pietenpol, Ph.D., co-Chief Scientific Advisor at Susan G. Komen and Chief Scientific and Strategy Officer and Executive Vice President for Research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.