Komen announces $26 Million in Grants including $650,000 awarded to Kansas Researchers

SUSAN G. KOMEN ANNOUNCES $26 MILLION INVESTMENT IN NEW RESEARCH TO FIND SOLUTIONS FOR AGGRESSIVE AND METASTATIC BREAST CANCERS,
AND TO HELP COMMUNITIES MOST AT RISK

Kansas Researchers Receive $650,000 in Research Funding

DALLAS – Sept. 25, 2018 – Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, today announced an additional investment of nearly $26 million to fund 62 new research projects that seek to answer some of the toughest questions facing breast cancer. This new funding is part of the organization’s efforts to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths in the U.S. by 50 percent by 2026 and brings its total research investment to $988 million to date – the largest nonprofit investment outside the U.S. government.

The grants include $650,000 in new funding for research at two institutions in Kansas, bringing Komen’s total research investment in Kansas to $10,942,251 since 1982.

“This year, Komen is investing in a number of areas that will help us achieve our bold goal and save lives. We are seeking answers to why our current drugs work for some patients, but not all, or why they work at first, but later become ineffective,” said Komen Chief Scientific Advisor, George Sledge, M.D., Chief of Oncology at Stanford University Department of Medicine. “We are also looking into aggressive forms of the disease like triple negative and inflammatory breast cancer, which tend to have poorer outcomes. By investigating novel techniques and therapies, we hope to bring new treatment options to patients.”

The newly announced grants will investigate critical areas in breast cancer research, including (but not limited to) projects focused on one or more of the following:

  • Drug Resistance and Metastasis (40 grants, representing 70 percent of the grants awarded)
  • Triple Negative Breast Cancer (23 grants)
  • New Treatments (38 grants) such as Immunotherapies (9 grants)
  • Health Disparities (8 grants)

This year, Komen’s competitive grant program for young investigators was entirely focused on drug resistance and metastatic disease. “Komen continues its long-standing investment in the next generation of scientists, to ensure that brilliant researchers whose careers are just beginning have funding to pursue their novel ideas,” said Komen Chief Scientific Advisor, Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., Executive Vice President for Research and Director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “We are proud that this investment includes opportunities for 23 innovative and inspired researchers to lead the way in making breast cancer discoveries that will improve care for all and help save lives.”

“More than 41,000 women and men will lose their lives to breast cancer this year alone. I lost my mother to the disease a few years back, and I myself have been treated for aggressive triple negative breast cancer. The idea that it could impact my daughters is unacceptable,” said Komen President and CEO Paula Schneider. “We all have a personal reason or passion that we support the fight against breast cancer, and we’re proud to invite people to support the work that means the most to them. It will take all of us working together to save lives and ultimately end this disease.”

Komen’s Investments in Kansas

Komen’s research program is funded in part by contributions from Komen’s nationwide Network of Affiliates, which directs a portion of funds raised locally to Komen’s national research program, while also investing in vital community programs that serve local women and men facing breast cancer.

Since 1994, Komen Kansas City has funded $11,518,395 to community programs serving local women and men, while contributing $4,155,625 to Komen research (This is in addition to another nearly $5 million in programmatic support provided by the affiliate directly).

“We are extremely thankful for the friends, family, and communities that fight alongside us, helping to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths in Kansas and Missouri, both on the ground and through research, and especially research into the most lethal breast cancers,” said Michael A. Levine, Interim Executive Director. “As we gather thousands next week for our 25th Annual Race for the Cure we know that funds raised that day will be working to save the lives of the most vulnerable in our communities.”

In Kansas, Komen is granting to the following researchers:

Komen Scholar Danny Welch, Ph.D., from the University of Kansas Medical Center, will receive $200,000 to continue to study the role of genes that suppress the ability of breast cancer cells to spread to other parts of the body (metastasis). By understanding why and how metastasis happens, new targets can be identified for therapy and guide treatment decisions.

Xiaoqing Wu, Ph.D., from The University of Kansas Center for Research, will receive $450,000 to study a protein, HuR, which may contribute to chemotherapy resistance in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). HuR is found at high levels in TNBC and is believed to help it grow and spread. Dr. Wu will determine if targeting HuR could overcome TNBC resistance to chemotherapy, and thus become a new treatment target for this aggressive cancer type.

Research has been a cornerstone of Komen’s work since opening its doors in 1982. Komen also works to inspire action through advocacy and public policy, to mobilize communities through support services and opportunities to make a local impact, and provide the care that patients need (including screening, diagnostics, treatment, and navigation).

About Susan G. Komen®

Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit outside of the federal government while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Komen has set a Bold Goal to reduce the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the U.S. by 2026. Since its founding in 1982, Komen has funded more than $988 million in research and provided more than $2.2 billion in funding to screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs serving millions of people in more than 60 countries worldwide. Komen was founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life. That promise has become Komen’s promise to all people facing breast cancer. Visit komen.org or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at ww5.komen.org/social.

Grants are contingent upon signed and executed contracts with Komen.

About Susan G. Komen® Greater Kansas City

Komen Kansas City is working to better the lives of those facing breast cancer in the local community. Through events like the Komen Kansas City Race for the Cure® and Rock the Ribbon, Komen Kansas City has invested more than $21 million in breast health programs in their 17-county Kansas and Missouri service area and has helped contribute to the more than $988 million invested globally in researchFor more information, call 816.842.0410, visit komenkansascity.org or behindtheribbon.org. Connect with them on social media: Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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Jernigan continues prominent role on national advisory board for Susan G. Komen

Susan G. Komen Greater Kansas City is proud to continue local representation on the Susan G. Komen Scientific Advisory Board (SAB): Cheryl Jernigan, CPA, FACHE. Jernigan also serves on the Komen Kansas City Board of Directors. Her focus continues to be on patient and research advocacy; clinical trials, clinical data research; big data (BD4BC); and cancer prevention. Jernigan is also a 21-year breast cancer survivor and one of the leading team captains (based on dollars raised) for the local Race for the Cure.

Cheryl Jernigan - Mission Advisors Roster FY18_Page_1She was previously CEO of the Kansas City Area Hospital Association, and has over 20 years of experience in health policy, advocacy and community/national leadership on behalf of hospitals. She is Chair of the Breast Cancer Prevention Center’s Advocate Advisory Board for The University of Kansas Medical Center and The University of Kansas Hospital, and she is the Lead Advocate of Patient & Investigator Voices Organizing Together (PIVOT), a new University of Kansas Cancer Center initiative. Jernigan is a founding and current board member and Chair of the Strategic Mission Committee of the Greater Kansas City Komen Affiliate, and a member of the Steering Committee of Komen’s Advocates In Science program. An active research advocate, Jernigan is a member of many clinical trial initiatives, including the National Cancer Institute’s Central Institutional Review Board for Adult Late Phase Clinical Trials. Jernigan is also one of the experts involved with Komen’s big data initiative.

In addition to Jernigan, the Greater Kansas City community is fortunate to be the home of Komen Scholar Danny Welch, PHDProfessor and Chair, Adjunct faculty of Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology. Welch, a researcher at the University of Kansas Medical Center, focuses on laboratory and translational research; metastasis; as well as mitochondrial genetics and mutations that lead to breast cancer. Welch is also a multi-year recipient of Komen Promise Grant dollars for his work on metastasis.

Click here to see a full list of the 2017-2018 Komen Mission Advisors..

Komen’s Mission Advisors

Komen’s Mission Advisors are the best and brightest researchers, clinicians, advocates & other experts who guide/help implement our mission programs.

Thanks to their efforts, we’re driving discovery, affecting change & accelerating progress in the fight against breast cancer.

The Scientific Advisory Board are providing strategic guidance for our research & scientific programs. They play a key role in prioritizing our global research investment. The SAB is led by the chief scientific advisors & acts as the executive committee of the Komen Scholars.

The Komen Scholars (KS) are an international group that has a wide range of expertise (clinical & laboratory research, surgery, pathology, prevention, disparities, radiation   oncology & other specialties).

They contribute in many ways to Komen’s mission programs & other activities/events with primary responsibility for leading & reviewing during Komen’s scientific peer review process. KS serve as ambassadors & experts in our communities and across the Affiliate Network.

Several of the KS are Advocates in Science who ensure that the unique perspectives of those affected by breast cancer are fully integrated in our decisions at every step of the research process.