The Susan G. Komen organization, the world's largest nonprofit funder of breast cancer research outside the U.S. government, has announced research grants totaling $34.7 million.
Of the hundred and sixteen grants awarded to researchers in twenty-three states and seven countries working to address disparities in breast cancer outcomes for underserved women and to improve treatments for triple-negative and metastatic cancers, fifty grants totaling nearly $16 million went to early-career scientists. Recipients include Nicole Steinmetz, of Case Western Reserve University, who was awarded $450,000 to develop a vaccine intended to prevent HER2-positive breast cancer from occurring in high-risk individuals and prevent recurrence in those previously diagnosed with HER2-positive disease; and Rebecca Marquez, of the University of Kansas Center for Research, who was awarded $180,000 to develop novel therapies for metastatic breast cancer using microRNAs, regulatory molecules that can inhibit the expression of many genes and proteins. Komen also awarded more than $2 million in support of Graduate Training in Disparities Research programs in five states.
"With federal research dollars tightening, we're deeply concerned that a generation of promising breast cancer researchers will be lost to other fields," said Komen president and CEO Judith A. Salerno. "Our ability to continue to save lives, and ultimately eliminate this disease, relies on our continued commitment to funding research, which is why Komen is preparing to increase funding to early-career investigators by 30 percent over the next year. Without innovative breast cancer research, advancements in early detection and lifesaving treatments such as tamoxifen, trastuzumab, and Kadcyla would not have been possible."