New York, NY – October 3, 2016 – The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) today announced a $57 million commitment to breast cancer research for 2016-2017, representing grants to more than 250 scientists at leading academic and medical institutions in 14 countries. BCRF funded research spans the entire spectrum of how cancer starts in the first place to developing new treatments to improve outcomes and quality of life.
"As the largest private funder of breast cancer research this year, we are raising funds and strategically placing them in the hands of leading scientists around the world. We unite around research because we know it is the only path to a future without breast cancer," said Myra Biblowit, President & CEO of BCRF. “While we’ve made real progress over the last twenty years, breast cancer is still the most common cancer in women worldwide. Research is progressing rapidly and we are urgently harnessing new and innovative projects while fostering global collaboration to save lives."
Key Areas of Research for 2016-2017
BCRF funds a diverse array of research topics and areas of focus, including the following major impact areas.
Metastatic Breast Cancer Research
This year, nearly one-third of BCRF ‘s grants (more than $16 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, 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. BCRF has committed $31 million to date for the Founder’s Fund Initiative in the US and Europe
• BCRF is committing more than $23 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.
BCRF launched the Drug Research Collaborative, an unprecedented new funding model aimed at bridging the gap between academic researchers and access to new therapies, increasing patient access to clinical trials for a new drug or drug combinations.
BCRF is investing over $10 million in research focused on immunotherapies, from novel combinations and clinical trials to vaccine development.
Inherited Susceptibility and Tumor Genomics
• Family history, genetics 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 2016-17, BCRF is investing over $15 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 predicting the risk they have on developing breast cancer, and understanding how factors within the tumor influences tumor behavior.
Early Diagnosis and Prevention
• BCRF is committing $8 million to preventative research, including studies to understand the biology underlying the relationship between obesity and breast cancer risk, discover biomarkers in blood and tissue that can identify persons at risk, understand the early influence of diet and weight on future breast cancer risk, and 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 2016-2017 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.
This year, BCRF will be funding a research study through the Metastatic Breast Cancer Project (MBC Project) aimed specifically at examining the genomics of African-American women with metastatic breast cancer in hopes of understanding new approaches to preventing or treating metastases—a problem that is especially prevalent for black women.
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 2016-2017, BCRF’s global presence is reflected in its support of 27 international researchers in 14 countries totaling more than $4.5 million in grants outside the US.
Learn more about these projects by tuning in to BCRF Conversations, the official podcast of BCRF. Available on iTunes and bcrfcure.org/podcasts.
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