By: Amanda DeBard
Researchers gathered at Komen’s Breast Cancer Disparities Research
Susan G. Komen has been working toward better understanding and
addressing why certain populations of breast cancer patients have different
outcomes. As part of this, we’ve primarily focused on African-American women,
who are 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than Caucasian women.
Although we know some things about the discrepancies in outcomes
between these two populations, there is more work to be done. To date, too few
research studies adequately represent the populations that need the most
That’s why Komen is pleased to award up to $250,000 to three
researchers who are helping to better understand what can be done to improve
outcomes for African-American women who have been diagnosed with breast
cancer. These researchers are looking at
the role genetics, environment, income and resources play in a breast cancer
patient’s life and her outcome will be impacted. Their work will also help to
incorporate new populations into research studies.
The three grant recipients are:
Schneider, M.D., of Indiana University in Indianapolis,
IN. Dr. Schneider will study how genetic ancestry affects how
African-American women respond to breast cancer therapy, focusing on a serious
side effect called taxane-induced peripheral neuropathy (TIPN). TIPN is linked
to worse outcomes in African-American patients. In addition, Dr. Schneider will
study the information and communication needs of African-American patients, to
build a shared decision-making tool that will help patients work with their
physicians to make the best treatment decisions. These studies will address the
disparity of TIPN for African-American women, leading to better outcomes for
King, Ph.D., of The University of Washington in Seattle, WA. Dr. King will
use new scientific approaches to find the genetic basis for the higher rate of
Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) in African-American women. Dr. King will
study the role of complex genetic mutations, not detectable by standard
sequencing methods, in over 80 cases of inherited TNBC in African-American
women. These studies will help inform treatment decisions and improve outcomes
in African-American women diagnosed with TNBC.
Rositch, Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. Dr. Rositch will
address the disparity in breast cancer mortality in low resource settings by
implementing and evaluating patient advocacy, navigation and referral programs
in Tanzania. The goal of this work is to develop community-based programs to
help patients, with limited access to resources, stay in the continuum of care.
Dr. Rositch’s work will help patients overcome barriers to care and improve
breast cancer outcomes in low-income areas across the globe.
grants were announced in conjunction with Susan G. Komen’s Breast Cancer
Disparities Research Summit and were made possible through a partnership with
Genentech, a member of the Roche Group.
at the summit discussed ideas and shared resources that focused on the
differences and challenges seen in minority communities to move the field
forward. It was the first summit of its kind to be held in the United States.
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