Thursday, August 1, 2013

KU Medical Center receives $700K of new research funding from Susan G. Komen foundation

KANSAS CITY, KAN. --- Susan G. Komen® today announced $4.5 million in research funding to more fully understand the role that environmental issues play in breast cancer development.

The grants will be part of Komen’s $42 million 2013 research portfolio, which includes more than $700,000 in new funding to researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

The new environmental grants will build on research that Komen has already funded to more fully understand the role of toxins and other environmental factors that may contribute to breast cancer.

Komen Chief Mission Officer Chandini Portteus said that the environmental grants are just one element in Komen’s more than $790 million research program – the largest breast cancer research investment of any nonprofit outside of the U.S. government.

“These environmental studies will add to our understanding of how breast cancer develops,” Portteus said. “At the same time, Komen will continue to fund research along the entire cancer spectrum – from prevention, to better screening, more personalized treatments for metastatic disease, and ending disparities in outcomes for women of color and those without adequate access to healthcare,” Portteus said.

Carli Good, Executive Director of the Komen Kansas City Affiliate said that since 1982, Komen has invested more than $7 million in research funding to Kansas institutions and more than $20.5 million in research funding to Missouri institutions.

 Susan G. Komen Affiliates in Kansas and Missouri have also funded nearly $47 million combined to community health programs that provide screenings, financial aid and social and emotional support to women and families throughout the state

“Up to 75 percent of the net funds we raise locally stay here to support our local community health and education programs. The other 25 percent helps fund Komen’s national research programs,” Good said.  “We’re thankful for our supporters who help us serve our communities here at home, while supporting our education and research institutions.”

The 2013 Kansas research grants, all to the University of Kansas Medical Center, will focus on two important areas: disparities in breast cancer prevention, and metastasis.

The grants include:
  • $62,500 in funding to Komen Scholar Carol Fabian, M.D., Dr. Fabian will continue investigating possible biomarkers of lignan response after treatment of premenopausal women with moderate to high risk of breast cancer. Lignans are found in high concentrations in flaxseed and have been associated with a reduction in breast cancer risk.
  • $225,000 to Komen Scholar Danny Welch, M.D., for continuing studies into factors that lead to metastasis in breast cancer, and for specific investigations into why some individuals are more susceptible to developing breast cancer than others, and also the biology of two genes that suppress metastasis (KISS1 and the breast cancer suppressor-1,BRMS-1, gene). 
  • $450,000 to Nikki Cheng, Ph.D., to investigate the functions of a protein called CCR2 as a possible key factor in the development and spread of invasive breast cancer. Ultimately, Cheng’s team is working to develop a test to detect CCR2 in women newly diagnosed with non-invasive breast cancer (cancer that hasn’t left the breast), and pursue therapies that target CCR2 to avoid metastasis.