• Susan G. Komen Hails Breakthrough Findings of Komen-Funded Researchers

    New Studies’ Findings Advance Movement to Personalize Treatments for Aggressive, Metastatic Breast Cancer

    DALLAS – Sept. 24, 2012 – Susan G. Komen for the Cure today hailed new findings by Komen-funded researchers that significantly deepen our understanding of breast cancer and could eventually lead to more effective treatments for the deadliest forms of the disease.

    “This work helps us understand the molecular underpinnings of breast cancer and advances Komen’s goal of bringing personalized treatments to the table for aggressive and metastatic disease,” said Chandini Portteus, vice president of Research, Evaluation and Scientific Programs for Komen. “Eventually, these findings could lead to better preventive and risk reduction factors for breast cancer as well.”

    The lead author on the study is Dr. Charles Perou, a distinguished professor of molecular oncology at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.  A $112,000 Komen grant to Perou in 2011 is supporting this research and will continue to build on this work.

    The study’s co-leader, Dr. Matthew J.C. Ellis, of Washington University in St. Louis told USA Today that the study’s results are the breast cancer equivalent “of putting a man or woman on the moon.”  Ellis is a Komen Scholar who is considered a leader in genomic research, currently working on late recurrence studies at Washington University through a Komen Promise Grant.

    The study, published in Nature on Sunday, is part of the National Institutes of Health’s Cancer Genome Atlas, which seeks to map the genomes of cancers. The mapping could mean significant progress in treating aggressive forms of breast cancer such as triple negative breast cancer and HER-2 positive breast cancers, which together comprise about 40 percent of breast cancer cases.

    Portteus said that finding new treatments for the most lethal forms of breast cancer is a priority in Komen’s research portfolio, which currently is invested in more than 500 active research grants totaling more than $300 million at institutions worldwide.

    Komen also is funding research into prevention, better screening methodologies and environmental factors in the disease.

    “Komen’s overall goal is to help develop treatments that will save lives in the near future, and ultimately end this disease through scientifically solid preventive strategies,” Portteus said. “Studies like these will lead to the right treatments at the right time for individuals, and help us better understand and resolve genetics and other issues that lead to breast cancer.”

    Komen is the largest nonprofit funder of breast cancer research outside of the federal government, investing more than $750 million since the organization was founded in 1982.