Komen Announces Nearly $33 Million in New Research Funding

New Funding – including nearly $2 million to the University of Pennsylvania and University of Delaware – to support Bold Goal of Cutting Breast Cancer Mortality by 50 Percent.

Building on its bold goal to reduce current breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the U.S. over the next decade, Susan G. Komen, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, in September, 2016 announced $32.7 million in new research grants for 2016. Awarded across 23 states and 7 countries, the projects span the entire continuum of breast cancer research, including research into metastatic disease, novel treatments for aggressive types of breast cancer, new technologies and health equity – areas that will make a significant impact in achieving the 50 percent goal.

The grants include more than $1.9 million in new funding for research in the Komen Philadelphia service area. This includes funding to four researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as one researcher at the University of Delaware.

“For nearly 35 years our organization has been a leader in the fight to end breast cancer, changing how people think about, talk about and treat this disease. Now, with a sharpened focus on our organization’s new strategic direction, we are delighted to announce new research funding that will play a significant role in making our bold goal a reality,” said Komen President and CEO Judy Salerno, M.D., M.S.

“Not only will these grants accelerate our understanding of key areas in breast cancer research, but they include funding for early-career investigators. As federal research dollars become increasingly difficult to secure, these awards give promising young researchers an opportunity to establish their careers, and help ensure breakthrough breast cancer research continues for years to come,” Dr. Salerno added. “Their work is essential to achieving our vision of a world without breast cancer.”

Grants from Komen’s nearly $33 million 2016 research portfolio* – including more than $16 million to early-career investigators – will focus on promising areas in research that have the greatest potential to save lives, including:

  • 38 grants expanding our knowledge of metastatic breast cancer and how to stop it.
  • 15 grants looking into novel treatments for aggressive types of breast cancer (specifically, triple negative, Luminal B and inflammatory breast cancer).
  • 21 grants advancing our ability to detect primary and recurrent breast cancer at its earliest stages.
  • 12 grants identifying the causes of breast cancer disparities and testing ways to overcome barriers to care.

Komen’s Investments in the Philadelphia Service Area

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

Since the first Komen Philadelphia Race for the Cure in 1991, Komen Philadelphia has distributed approximately $57 million in grants to community programs serving local women and men, and funded more than 165,000 free mammograms, while contributing $23 million to Komen research.

“We couldn’t have done any of this without the passion and support of the people of our community – from sponsors and donors to volunteers and individual fundraisers,” said Elaine Grobman, CEO of Susan G. Komen® Philadelphia. “It’s exciting to see some of that fundraising come back in the form of research support to two esteemed institutions in our service area… and humbling to also know the money we raise here at home is making a global impact on ending this disease.”  

In Komen Philadelphia’s service area, researchers will receive nearly $2 million, including:

University of Pennsylvania

  • Komen Scholar David Mankoff, M.D., Ph.D., will receive $400,000 for continued support of a multidisciplinary breast cancer imaging group who are developing new imaging methods, using MRI and PET, to measure response to therapy. These studies focus on metastatic breast cancer and also have the potential to develop new ways to overcome drug resistance.
  • Amy Clark, M.D., will receive $441,773 to conduct a clinical trial investigating whether a combination of chemotherapy (paclitaxel) with ribociclib (part of a new class of drugs called CDK 4/6 inhibitors) can effectively treat different types of breast cancer. Dr. Clark will also develop biomarkers to predict who will respond to this combination of drugs, with a goal of preventing and eliminating metastatic breast cancer.
  • Elizabeth McDonald, M.D., Ph.D., will receive $438,942 to conduct a clinical trial to determine if specific imaging biomarkers can be used to provide real-time data on response to therapy, allowing selection of more-individualized treatments for metastatic breast cancer.   
  • Komen Scholar Susan Domchek, M.D., will receive $200,000 to continue her work creating a registry to follow individuals who have had genetic testing and tested positive for known breast cancer mutations or mutations associated with unknown risk.  The registry will provide critical information to identify those at risk of breast cancer and help researchers better understand the risks associated with different mutations, which could improve prevention and breast care in these individuals.

University of Delaware

  • April Kloxin, Ph.D., of University of Delaware will receive $450,000 to determine why some breast cancer cells that have spread to other organs in the body (metastasized) stay quiet for long periods of time, and then reawaken to form new tumors. Dr. Kloxin will also test whether keeping breast cancer cells quiet can be used as a new treatment option to treat or prevent metastatic breast cancer.

These new funds bring Komen’s total research investment to more than $920 million since opening its doors in 1982, the largest of any nonprofit outside 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 billion has been invested in community programs that provide education, screening and treatment support.


*Contingent upon signed and executed contracts with Komen

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