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BCRF Announces Grants to Support Early-Career Breast Cancer Researchers

By BCRF | January 11, 2024

Partnerships with leading cancer organizations continue to foster a new and diverse group of investigators in the field 

BCRF is committed to supporting promising researchers relatively early in their careers when funding may be more challenging to obtain. We have teamed up with leading cancer organizations Conquer Cancer, the ASCO FoundationAmerican Association for Cancer Research (AACR); and American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) to do this. BCRF is particularly focused on creating a more diverse scientific workforce and supporting researchers who are addressing existing breast cancer disparities. Our goal to increase diversity and inclusion in the oncology and academic research workforce early in the career trajectory is vital to ensuring that all investigators who wish to contribute to breast cancer research can do so.  

We are proud to announce the 2023-24 award recipients. 

Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation

The research topics explored by the Conquer Cancer award recipients are as diverse as the investigators themselves. All Conquer Cancer awards help support early- and mid-career investigators that have backgrounds not always well represented in academic medicine and breast cancer research. BCRF supports eight awards in three categories through Conquer Cancer this year.

The five awardees below received the Young Investigator Award, which allows them to build their career in clinical cancer research. These awards provide funding support during the transition from a fellowship program to a faculty appointment.

  • Priscila Barreto Coelho, MD of the University of Miami is investigating how hormone levels and inflammatory markers affect outcomes in Black women with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer.
  • Adriana Kahn, MD of Yale University is conducting molecular analysis of primary tumors and metastases to inform therapeutic decision making.
  • Laura S. Muñoz-Arcos, MD of Weill Cornell Medical College is testing strategies to better predict response to CDK4/6 inhibitors in patients with hormone receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer. Dr. Muñoz-Arcos’s award is in honor of Susan Hirschorn and in memory of her mother.
  • Guilherme Nader-Marta, MD of Institut Jules Bordet is improving treatments for aggressive metastatic triple-negative breast cancer. Dr. Nader-Marta’s award is in memory of Evelyn H. Lauder.
  • Sarah Nyagabona, MD, MMed of Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences is investigating drivers of survival disparity among women living with HIV and breast cancer to improve care delivery and reduce mortality.

Shekinah N. C. Elmore, MD, MPH of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received a Career Development Award that provides funding to investigators who have received their initial faculty appointment and helps them establish an independent cancer research program that is patient focused. She is working towards improving cancer care for patients located in resource-limited settings.

Two researchers received Advanced Clinical Research Awards, which aim to increase diversity in the oncology workforce and breast cancer research:

  • Veronica Jones, MD, FACS of City of Hope is investigating the biological factors that contribute to drug resistance in Black women with breast cancer.
  • Jose Pablo Leone, MD of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is investigating endocrine therapy treatments for men with breast cancer.

AACR Awards

BCRF supports three AACR Awards to promote diversity and inclusion.  These awards support investigators from diverse backgrounds that are underrepresented in cancer research with the intent to build a more diverse and inclusive future for breast cancer research. The funded research projects are designed to accelerate the discovery, development, and application of new agents to treat breast cancer.

Career Development Awards

  •  Yehoda M. Martei, MD, MSCE of University of Pennsylvania is improving breast cancer outcomes for Black patients by increasing access to care and adherence to treatment.

NextGen Grant ​for Transformative Cancer Research in honor of Nancy Davidson

  • Igor Bado, PhD of Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is working to understand the characteristics of bone that make it a common site of breast cancer metastasis.

ASTRO 

Through our partnership with ASTRO, BCRF is supporting the Emerging Investigator Award to Build a Diverse Scientific Workforce. Rebecca M. Shulman, MD of Fox Chase Cancer Center is this year’s recipient and is investigating combination therapy for metastatic triple-negative breast cancer. The award seeks to foster and develop talented early-career breast radiation oncology researchers who are addressing disparities and barriers to care and are members of populations currently underrepresented in biomedical research. 

Our partnerships with these leading cancer organizations enable BCRF to support the next generation of breast cancer researchers. This is one way that BCRF helps to diversify the breast cancer research field to help all patients identify with and trust their caregivers. And by doing so, we hope to facilitate balanced and equitable breast cancer care to reach patients across the U.S. and globally.  

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