Susan G. Komen®’s 2015 Breast Cancer Research Funding Targets Early-Career Investigators, New Therapies, Health Inequities and Metastatic Disease

Florida Researchers Receive $630,000 in Research Funding:

Susan G. Komen, the world’s largest nonprofit funder of breast cancer research, announced new grants to 124 researchers in 25 states and 8 countries, with about half of the grants targeted to early-career researchers squeezed by stagnation in federal research dollars.

The grants include $630,000 in new funding for research at two institutions in Florida, bringing Komen’s total research investment in Florida to $12,630,000 since 1982.

The 2015 research grants expand Komen’s ongoing commitment to funding early-career scientists, that is, recent graduates and those trying to establish independent research careers. This group has been especially hard hit by real-dollar declines of as much as 25 percent in federal research funding over the past decade.

“We committed two years ago to do all that we can to ensure that talented early-career investigators remain in the breast cancer research field, while continuing our support for established researchers,” said Komen President and CEO Judith A. Salerno, M.D., M.S. “We cannot afford to lose talented scientists to other fields for lack of funding.”

This year’s research slate brings Komen’s total research investment to more than $889 million since 1982, the largest of any nonprofit, and second only to the U.S. government.

Grants from Komen’s nearly $36 million research portfolio – including more than $17.6 million in grants awarded to early-career investigators – span the entire cancer continuum from prevention to treatments for aggressive and metastatic disease. These include:

  • 36 grants to improve understanding of metastatic breast cancer
  • 18 grants investigating how tumors develop drug resistance
  • 19 grants related to the study of triple negative breast cancer – one of the most aggressive forms of the disease
  • 15 grants working to identify and understand biological and socio-economic health inequities
  • 13 grants seeking to develop new and novel therapies

Komen’s Investments in Florida

Komen’s research program is funded in part by contributions from Komen’s nationwide network of Affiliates, which direct 25 percent of locally raised funds to Komen’s national research program. The remaining 75 percent of net funds are invested into community outreach programs that serve local women and men facing breast cancer.

Since 2000, Susan G. Komen® South Florida dedicated more than $21.2 million dollars to carrying out mission-related activities, including Community Outreach and Education; Navigation, Patient Care Screening and Treatment grants; and research funding to the national Susan G. Komen® Grants Program (totaling $5.5 million).

“We are so proud to have the support of this community as we help our friends, coworkers and neighbors who are facing breast cancer, and work for continued progress against breast cancer through research,” said Dayve Gabbard, executive director of Susan G. Komen® South Florida.

In Florida, researchers will receive $630,000 to investigate breast cancer metastasis.

  • Barry Hudson, Ph.D., of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine will receive $450,000 to investigate the protein RAGE, a receptor present on the surface of normal cells which can get switched on by inflammation. Dr. Hudson and team will analyze whether RAGE protein levels in patient tissue are predictive of invasiveness and metastasis, and test if a RAGE drug inhibitor affects breast cancer progression in mice.
  • Marilena Tauro, Ph.D., of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute will receive $180,000 to study the role of the enzyme matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), which is expressed by both breast cancer cells and bone cells and has been shown to assist breast cancer cell growth in the bone. Dr. Tauro will seek to determine whether targeted inhibition of MMP-2 would be a valuable therapy in preventing breast cancer metastasis to bone.

A full list of Komen’s 2015 research grants can be found here.*

In addition to funding breast cancer research, Komen has invested more than $1.95 billion into community health outreach and global programs that serve hundreds of thousands of women and men annually through breast cancer health and support programs that screen, educate and provide financial, medical and psychosocial assistance.

For more information about Komen’s mission investment, please visit komen.org.