Komen Announces $26 Million Investment in New Research


Three projects funded at the University of Pennsylvania for nearly $1,500,000; includes one of four that can also receive direct donations from Komen supporters.

On September 25, 2018,Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, announced an additional investment of $26 million to fund 62 new research projectsthat 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.

“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.”

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.

Locally, over the past 28 years, Komen Philadelphia has distributed approximately $62.5 million in grants to local organizations, funded of more than 176,500 mammogramsfor women in need in its service area, and contributed approximately $27 million to breast cancer research.

“We serve 15 counties and more than 7.4 million people in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey—and we take every one of those lives, male and female, young and senior, as our personal responsibility,” said Elaine I. Grobman, CEO, Komen Philadelphia. “We are so thankful for the community grantees and activists that fight alongside us to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths in our community. Our work ‘on the ground’ goes hand in hand with the incredible researchers working every day to combat this disease in its most basic as well as most lethal forms. As a unified force, we’re saving lives today and pursuing the science that one day will eliminate the threat of breast cancer for all women.”

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.” 

In addition, The American Association for Cancer Research received $75,000 to support programs at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS) where scientists and clinicians discussed the latest advances in breast cancer research, treatment, prevention and health disparities as well as being recognized for their accomplishments by their peers. Scientific meetings like SABCS offer investigators networking opportunities and stimulate collaborative interdisciplinary interactions and partnerships among the leaders of the scientific and patient advocacy communities worldwide.

Komen is also giving supporters an opportunity to make a personal impact by donating to four of this year’s new research grants. By visiting, individuals can choose to donate directly to projects that align with their passions or interests.

  • Robert Faryabi, Ph.D., at the University of Pennsylvania who is using Big Data to investigate how a protein called NOTCH contributes to TNBC growth and chemotherapy resistance.
  • Kevin Cheung, M.D., at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, who will determine if metastatic breast cancer (MBC) can be treated or prevented by blocking tumor cell clustering (or clumping). Patients who have clusters of tumor cells, instead of single tumor cells, circulating in their blood are more likely to die of MBC.
  • Jennifer Guerriero, Ph.D., at Dana Farber Cancer Center, who is investigating ways to improve treatment response to a type of drug called PARP inhibitors in BRCA-mutant triple negative breast cancer (TNBC).
  • Paula Bos, Ph.D., at Virginia Commonwealth University, who will investigate how regulatory T cells (Treg, a type of immune cells) support the growth of breast cancer cells that have spread to the brain.

“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.”

Investments in the Komen Philadelphia Service Area

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. In Komen Philadelphia’s 15-county service area, Komen is granting to the following researchers:

  • Komen Scholar David Mankoff, M.D., Ph.D., from University of Pennsylvania: Will receive $600,000 to support a multi-disciplinary Breast Cancer Molecular Imaging Program that is working to develop new imaging methods, based on MRI and PET imaging, to measure response to therapy. These studies focus on metastatic breast cancer and have the potential to develop new ways to overcome drug resistance.
  • Payal Shah, M.D., from University of Pennsylvania: Will receive $448,556.77 to test the response to PARP inhibitor treatment in combination with anti-estrogen therapy in patients with hormone positive, BRCA1/2 mutant metastatic breast cancer (MBC). The goal of this research is to identify biological markers that can predict which patients will benefit from immunotherapy (treatments that target the immune system) to improve outcomes for these patients.
  • Robert Faryabi, Ph.D., from University of Pennsylvania: Will receive $450,000 to investigate how a protein called NOTCH contributes to triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) growth and resistance to chemotherapy. The goal of this study is to identify other proteins that work with NOTCH to drive TNBC. Using cutting-edge data science, Dr. Faryabi will discover new treatment strategies for TNBC patients that could improve survival by limiting resistance and recurrence.

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 or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at

Grants are contingent upon signed and executed contracts with Komen.

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