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The Breast Cancer Research Foundation Commits $48.5 Million to Fund Cancer Research Worldwide

By BCRF | October 1, 2015

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, BCRF highlights advances and progress at two symposia and announces priority research areas for 2015-2016

BCRF has announced a $48.5 million commitment to breast cancer research for 2015-2016, and grants commencing October 1 to 240 grantees on five continents. BCRF announced six key areas of research for 2015-2016 to continue to advance its mission to prevent and cure breast cancer.

“We are proud to announce BCRF’s $48.5 million commitment to funding breast cancer research—making us the largest private funder of breast cancer research in the world this year. We have made research our mission because investing in research produces real results,” said Myra Biblowit, President & CEO of BCRF. “Deaths from breast cancer have dropped 30 percent over the last 20 years. That is real progress but we have much more to do.”

Two Upcoming Research Symposia Highlight Progress

BCRF celebrates October with two research symposia to highlight progress made in breast cancer research and honor two individuals whose commitment and dedication have helped to advance the field.

On October 29, more than 180 researchers from around the globe will gather alongside 1000 guests at the New York Symposium and Awards Luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria titled “Progress in Killing Drug-Resistant Cancer Cells.” Panelist Dr. Joan Brugge of Harvard Medical School will be honored with the Jill Rose Award for her distinguished work to advance understanding of the molecular and cellular biology of breast cancer. Dr. Suzanne Fuqua of Baylor College of Medicine and Dr. Vered Stearns of Johns Hopkins University will also serve on the panel moderated by BCRF Scientific Director Dr. Larry Norton and BCRF Scientific Advisory Chairman Dr. Clifford Hudis of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Journalist and breast cancer survivor Joan Lunden will host and designer and BCRF Board Member Tory Burch will receive The Sandra Taub Humanitarian Award in recognition of her leadership and commitment to BCRF’s mission of eradicating breast cancer.

On October 23, the Boston Research Symposium and Luncheon titled “Understanding Women’s Risk for Breast Cancer and Other Cancers,” will gather more than 300 guests and feature panelists Dr. Judy Garber and Dr. Nadine Tung of Harvard Medical School with a discussion moderated by Chairman of BCRF’s Scientific Advisory Board Dr. Clifford Hudis. Journalist and breast cancer survivor Kelley Tuthill will host a conversation with fellow breast cancer survivor Davina McNaney who ran 466 miles from Michigan to New York to raise funds for breast cancer research.

Key Areas of Research for 2015-2016

BCRF funds a diverse array of research topics and areas of focus, including the following major impact areas. BCRF researchers are available for interviews to discuss these priority areas, which will also be highlighted during BCRF’s symposia.

Metastatic Breast Cancer Research

This year, over one-quarter of BCRF ‘s annual grants (more than $14.5 million) are focused on metastatic breast cancer. Studies include understanding the biology of why and how cancer cells spread, the development of new treatments for advanced disease, clinical trials for new drug or drug combinations and correlative studies to discover biomarkers that can predict which breast cancers are more likely to spread.

In 2014, BCRF established the Evelyn H. Lauder Founder’s Fund, a multi-year international program dedicated to metastasis that is the first large-scale global effort to unravel the biology of metastasis. With $31 million raised to date, it is the largest privately funded project exclusively focused on metastasis in the world.


• BCRF is committing more than $14 million to research on improving treatments for breast cancer patients. Studies include understanding why a treatment fails some patients and not others, why tumors become resistant to drugs and discovering biomarkers that can match patients to the right therapy.

Inherited susceptibility and tumor genomics

• Family history, inherited susceptibility and race/ ethnicity all contribute to an individual’s risk of breast cancer. Tumor genetic factors that are not inherited also influence the outcomes in breast cancer. In 2015-2016, BCRF is investing nearly $20 million in research in inherited susceptibility and tumor genomics. Studies include understanding how mutations in the breast cancer genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2 modify risk, identifying new breast cancer susceptibility genes and how to predict the risk they impose and understanding how the tumor genome (mutations in the tumor that are not inherited) influences tumor behavior and can be targeted for more precise treatments. 

Prevention and Lifestyle Choices

• BCRF is committing $6.5 million to preventative research, including studies to:
o Understand the biology underlying the relationship between obesity and breast cancer risk
o Discover biomarkers in blood and tissue that can identify persons at risk
o Understand the early influence of diet and weight on future breast cancer risk o Decipher the long-term benefit of chemopreventives such as tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors in high-risk women.


• BCRF is committed to addressing the diverse factors affecting disparities in breast cancer outcomes. In 2015−2016 BCRF has committed nearly $2 million in studies to understand the differences in genetic and biological risk factors across populations, improve access to genetic testing in high-risk minority groups, as well as access to quality care and affordable medications to underserved populations and increase minority participation in clinical trials.

Breast Cancer as a Growing Global Threat

• As cancer’s toll grows around the world, it is becoming just as much a threat to global health and development as infectious diseases. In fact, the World Health Organization predicts that more people will die from cancer by 2030 than from AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. For 2015−2016, BCRF’s global presence is reflected in its support of 27 international researchers in 12 countries totaling more than $4.5 million in grants outside the US. 


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