Susan G. Komen® Funds $30.7 Million in New Breast Cancer Research

Susan G. Komen, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, today announced 2017 research funding of $30.7 million for 98 research grants focusing on the most lethal forms and stages of breast cancer, as well as disparities in breast cancer outcomes.

In Washington state, Komen Scholar Benjamin Anderson, M.D., of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Breast Health Global Initiative (BHGI), will receive $550,000 to evaluate the strengths and gaps in processes used by health care facilities in low-resource settings.  The goal of this research is to assist health care facilities in evaluating and implementing breast health interventions to improve detection, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.

Strategies to build health care capacity in low and middle income countries can be applied in underserved communities in the U.S. as well, Dr. Anderson said. “Today is a critical time where real and meaningful progress can be made by wisely using resources to save lives at home and abroad,” he said.

Susan G. Komen is a co-founder of BHGI and has provided support continuously since 2002. Several ongoing Komen grants, awarded in previous years to local researchers including Mary-Claire King, Ph.D. and Nora Disis, M.D. bring Komen’s total research investment in Washington state institutions to $11,630,427 since 1982.

Komen’s 2017 grants portfolio includes*:

  • 37 grants expanding our knowledge of metastatic breast cancer and how to better treat it or prevent it;
  • 37 grants looking into novel treatments for aggressive types of breast cancer (specifically, triple negative, inflammatory breast cancer luminal B, and ER-positive recurrent breast cancer).
  • 59 grants focused on new therapies, including 10 for targeted therapies and 20 for drug development
  • 24 investigating drug resistance (why drugs stop working in some patients)
  • 9 on disparities in breast cancer outcomes and 2 involving Big Data

*Editors Note: Numbers may add to more than 98 because individual studies may be classed in more than one category.

“We are focused on new treatments, ways to overcome drug resistance in breast cancer patients, and a better understanding of how and why breast cancer spreads, so that we can better treat metastatic breast cancer or prevent it all together,” said Ellen Willmott, interim president and CEO of Susan G. Komen. “This focus on aggressive and metastatic disease is the foundation of our Bold Goal to reduce U.S. breast cancer deaths by 50 percent by 2026.”

Metastatic breast cancer – which is breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body like the brain, liver, bones or lungs – is responsible for almost all of the nation’s 40,000 annual breast cancer deaths. More than 154,000 women are living with metastatic disease in the U.S. today.

Komen is one of the largest nonprofit funders of metastatic breast cancer research, investing more than $180 million in metastatic breast cancer research, including more than 450 metastatic research grants and more than 40 clinical trials. Locally, Komen funding has gone to Komen Scholar Julie Gralow, M.D., and Candice Grzelak, Ph.D., to advance our understanding of metastatic disease and new strategies to treat it.

Komen’s research program is funded in part by contributions from Komen’s nationwide network of affiliates, which directs 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.