Susan G. Komen Announces $31 Million in Research Grant Funding with Metastatic Focus


University of Kansas Cancer Center Researcher Receive $300,000 in Funding

DALLAS – September 26, 2017 – Susan G. Komen, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, today announced 2017 research funding of $30.7 million for 98 research grants, with a focus on new treatments and understanding of the most lethal forms and stages of breast cancer. Komen funding to institutions in 27 states and 7 countries also includes research into new screening technologies, treatments for metastatic and aggressive types of breast cancer and disparities in breast cancer outcomes.

The grants include $300,000 in new funding for research at one institution in Kansas, The University of Kansas Cancer Center, bringing Komen’s total research investment in Kansas to more than $10.5 million since 1982.

“We are focused on new treatments, ways to overcome drug resistance in breast cancer patients, and a better understanding of how and why breast cancer spreads, so that we can better treat metastatic breast cancer or prevent it all together,” said Ellen Willmott, interim president and CEO of Susan G. Komen. “This focus on aggressive and metastatic disease is the foundation of our Bold Goal to reduce U.S. breast cancer deaths by 50% by 2026.”

Metastatic breast cancer – which is breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body like the brain, liver, bones or lungs – is responsible for almost all of the nation’s 40,000 annual breast cancer deaths. More than 154,000 women are living with metastatic disease in the U.S. today. By targeting metastatic disease, Komen is hoping to reduce breast cancer deaths dramatically in the U.S.

This year’s funding also includes $17.6 million to early-career investigators. “Funding for early-career researchers ensures a continuum of breast cancer research, across generations, which is critical in a time of tightening federal research dollars,” Willmott said.

Komen’s 2017 portfolio includes*:

  • 37 grants expanding our knowledge of metastatic breast cancer and how to better treat it or prevent it;
  • 37 grants looking into novel treatments for aggressive types of breast cancer (specifically, triple negative, inflammatory breast cancer luminal B, and ER-positive recurrent breast cancer).
  • 59 grants focused on new therapies, including 10 for targeted therapies and 20 for drug development
  • 24 investigating drug resistance (why drugs stop working in some patients)
  • 9 on disparities in breast cancer outcomes and 2 involving Big Data

“We are so thankful for the friends, family and neighbors that fight alongside us, helping to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths in Missouri and Kansas, both on the ground and through research,” said Denise Wiese, Susan G. Komen Greater Kansas City Interim Executive Director.

Komen’s Investments in Kansas

Komen’s research program is funded in part by contributions from Komen’s nationwide Network of Affiliates, which directs 25% of funds raised locally to Komen’s national research program, while investing the remaining 75% into community outreach programs that serve local women and men facing breast cancer.

University of Kansas Cancer Center

Komen Scholar Danny Welch, Ph.D., will receive $300,000 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.

These new funds bring Komen’s total research investment in breast cancer to more than $956 million since opening its doors in 1982, the largest of any nonprofit and second only to the U.S. government. In addition to research, Komen and its nationwide network of Affiliates serve women and men in thousands of communities. To date, more than $2.1 billion has been invested in community programs that provide education, screening and treatment support.

Kansas also has 3 ongoing grants, awarded in previous years.

About Susan G. Komen®
Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization outside of the federal government, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Since its founding in 1982, Komen has funded more than $956 million in research and provided more than $2.1 billion in funding to screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs. Komen has worked 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. Visit or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at

About Susan G. Komen® and 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 Race for the Cure®, Rock the Ribbon and the Pink Promise Conference, Komen Kansas City has invested more than $21 million in community breast health programs in our 17-county service area and has helped contribute to the more than $956 million invested globally in researchFor more information, Visit or call 816.842.0410. Connect with us on social media: FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

Grants are contingent upon signed and executed contracts with Komen.

# # #

Thank you for working to save lives & end breast cancer forever!



October has come to end and we’re thrilled at the support we’ve received as we work together towards a world without breast cancer.

But even though National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) is over, our fight to save lives continues.

This is not a one day, one week or even one month effort – It takes a year round focus on screenings, education, awareness, treatment, advocacy and research to attack this disease on all fronts. Our work is not done until this becomes a treatable illness and no one dies from breast cancer.

Having said that, October is still necessary. NBCAM and all of the focus on this disease is critical to our work and ultimately needed if we want to achieve our bold goal of reducing breast cancer deaths by 50% over the next 10 years or sooner!


Because of the national spotlight on breast cancer last month we saw the following:

– More than $115,000 raised via 49 events to support our efforts locally as well
as cutting edge research (Click here to host your own event)

69 pieces of original breast cancer educational content shared via our Website,
blog and social media (Click here to see our NBCAM content)

3,000+ individuals participating in the Worship in Pink program through their
places of worship (See how you can organize your own event)

– The launch of our Rock the Ribbon II benefit concert featuring Barenaked
Ladies on January 13, 2017 (Check out the fun at

Kansas City, Missouri City Council and Mayor Sly James proclaiming October 13 as Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day

– The State of Missouri and Governor Jay Nixon proclaiming October as Breast
Cancer Awareness Month

– Komen KC participated in 49 events held to raise awareness and provide
education and support for the breast cancer community

– Numerous Kansas City landmarks bathed in pink lights to recognize National
Breast Cancer Awareness Month (See selected photos here)

– More than 3,000 Pink KC Heart shirts sold (benefiting Komen KC) and four
survivor videos created by Charlie Hustle (Click here to see highlights)

Another important event took place at the beginning of October: our MORE THAN
PINK platform was launched and has been woven into everything we do!

MORE THAN PINK is about taking breast cancer awareness and turning it into action! It’s one thing to talk about a cause; it’s another to do something about it.

We want more doing. We want you to Act . Donate . Get Involved .
We’re not one’s to get lost in a crowd of pink. Pink isn’t always as pretty as it sounds.

And the one thing is, We are more than just a color.


Watch for more information on how you can take the #MoreThanPink pledge and show how you are taking awareness and turning it into action.

On behalf of those we serve we thank you for your continued support of Susan G. Komen and the work we do locally and throughout the country.

Susan G. Komen Greater Kansas City

Angela Figus-Miratsky                            Carli Good, MSW
President, Board of Directors                   Executive Director