Collaboration: Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance

how-we-collaborate-mtp-pinkMetastatic breast cancer is breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast to other organs in the body. In the U.S., most women with metastatic cancer develop it when cancer returns at some point after their initial breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

In October 2013, Susan G. Komen® joined forces with a number of other cancer charities and advocacy groups to form the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance (MBC Alliance). Since that time, the MBC Alliance has grown to include 40 members and has made progress against three overarching goals:

  1. Advocate for progress in research that will extend life, enhance quality of life, and ultimately end death from metastatic breast cancer
  2. Strive to ensure that all metastatic breast cancer patients and their caregivers know how to, and are able to access the care and services they need from a responsive and well-informed healthcare system
  3. Educate those diagnosed, their families, healthcare providers, researchers, and health policy influencers and makers on metastatic breast cancer and how it differs from early-stage breast cancer

Learn more at http://www.mbcalliance.org/

Watch the MBC Alliance’s video about the experiences of women living with MBC:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HewanXqBDlM

Additional information on Metastatic Breast Cancer: http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/SupportforPeoplewithMetastaticBreastCancer.html

http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/MetastaticBreastCancerHome.html

http://ww5.komen.org/uploadedFiles/_Komen/Content/What_We_Do/We_Fund_Research/Your_Research_Dollars_at_Work/2015%20Metastasis%20FF.pdf

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Collaboration: Komen Scholars

how-we-collaborate-mtp-pinkKomen Scholars are an advisory group of 60 distinguished scholars and leaders in breast cancer research and advocacy. Each has made significant contributions to advancing the field or demonstrated significant promise of doing so in the future and all are committed to furthering Komen’s mission.

Led by the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), which serves as the executive committee, the Komen Scholars are an international group with a wide range of expertise, including clinical research, laboratory research, pathology, prevention, radiation oncology, surgery, and other research disciplines and specialties, allowing them to advise Komen in a variety of capacities. While their primary responsibility is to lead and participate as reviewers in Komen’s scientific peer review process, the Komen Scholars also serve as ambassadors and experts in our communities and across the Affiliate Network.

In addition, several of the Scholars are Advocates in Science who ensure that the unique perspectives of those affected by breast cancer are fully integrated into decisions at every step of Komen’s mission.

Learn more about the scholars:

http://ww5.komen.org/ResearchGrants/ScientificAdvisoryCouncil.html

Breast Cancer Research: Research Advocacy

bc-research-mtp-pinkAt Susan G. Komen®, we have a unique community of dedicated volunteer research advocates, who, through our Advocates in Science (AIS) program, work to reduce the burden of breast cancer in their communities.

Research advocates bring the patient’s voice to research, ensuring that the unique and valuable perspectives of breast cancer patients, survivors and co-survivors are integrated into the scientific dialogue and decisions, which impact progress toward ending breast cancer.

Research advocates play a variety of roles throughout the research process. Advocates do everything from educating others about research to participating in research grant peer reviews and working with or as part of scientific teams to help prioritize, develop and implement research projects.

Learn more: http://ww5.komen.org/WhatWeDo/WeFundResearch/BringingthePatientVoicetoResearch/BringingthePatientVoicetoResearch.html

Breast Cancer Research: Young Researchers

bc-research-mtp-pinkSusan G. Komen® continues to look to the future of breast cancer research by supporting early career scientists and developing the next generation of leaders in breast cancer research and clinical care.

Recalling our history, you’ll find Komen’s promise to “energize the science” has included funding young investigators since 1990. Now, some of those first young investigators are among the best “seasoned” breast cancer researchers in the world , including some  who are now Komen Scholars- (members of Komen’s advisory group which helps to guide Komen’s research and scientific programs and other mission programs). They are dedicated to Komen and breast cancer research and are now guiding new young minds to join them.

The field of breast cancer research has consistently attracted new minds to the pursuit of the cures. Unfortunately, with lagging funding everywhere and fewer jobs available in academic research, it has become harder to keep young scientists in the field . Without these future leaders and a dedicated workforce, our progress against the disease will not happen. That’s where the Komen Research Program comes in – by providing critical funding that supports the continued research, and thus the continued careers, of these promising scientists. But, we need everyone to help raise the dollars to fund the research.

Research is our investment in the future for our children and friends, an investment in a future without breast cancer.

Learn more about how Komen funds research: http://ww5.komen.org/WhatWeDo/WeFundResearch/HowWeFundResearch/HowWeFundResearch.html

Breast Cancer Research: Triple Negative Breast Cancer

bc-research-mtp-pinkTriple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a subtype of breast cancer that does not express hormone receptors (ER-, PR-) or HER2/neu (HER2-) About 15 to 20 percent of breast cancers diagnosed today in the U.S. are TNBC. These tumors tend to occur more often in younger women and African-American women. Women who carry a mutated BRCA1 gene tend to have breast cancers that are triple negative. Triple negative tumors are often aggressive.

Today there are no targeted therapies specifically for TNBC. However, triple negative breast cancer can be treated with surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. More research is needed to better understand how this cancer develops and how it can be treated more effectively. And that is what Susan G. Komen® is doing.

Komen has invested more than $98 million in more than 130 research grants focused on triple negative breast cancer since it was first identified as a distinct type of breast cancer in 2006. This research has helped us to understand that:

  • There are at least 6 different subtypes of TNBC, each with different abnormalities, which may be treated using drugs that are specific to these abnormalities.
  • A combination of a new drug called a PARP inhibitor plus standard chemotherapy may be more effective at killing TNBC than chemotherapy alone.
  • A blood test that measures the presence of a specific set of genes may be used to identify TNBC patients with BRCA mutations, resulting in earlier intervention and improved treatment.

Learn more: http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/TripleNegativeBreastCancer.html

http://ww5.komen.org/uploadedFiles/_Komen/Content/What_We_Do/We_Fund_Research/Your_Research_Dollars_at_Work/2015%20TNBC%20FF(1).pdf

Breast Cancer Research: Clinical Trials

bc-research-mtp-pinkWhen it comes to cancer, clinical trials are one of the biggest reasons we’ve seen gains in breast cancer survival over the past 40 years. And improved survival hasn’t been the only benefit.

Quality of life for people living with cancer has also improved as trials have helped identify more targeted treatments that can help limit many of the side effects of cancer therapies.

Most of us have heard the term “clinical trials” but haven’t given it much thought. Like a lot of important things that fly under the radar, clinical trials have had a huge impact on society.

At their most basic, clinical trial studies done in people test the safety and effectiveness of ways to prevent, detect or treat disease. Participants may benefit from clinical trials themselves, or their participation may benefit others in the future. They are the first to receive new treatments under investigation and, in cancer clinical trials, are guaranteed to receive the best standard care possible. And, clinical trials offer a way for women with breast cancer to play an active role in their own health care and help others by adding to medical research.

Most clinical research progresses through an orderly series of steps, called phases. This allows researchers to ask and answer questions in a way that results in reliable information, yet protects patients. Most clinical trials are classified into one of four phases, though there can be some overlap between types depending on the study.

Phase 1 (phase I): These first studies in people evaluate how a new drug should be given (by mouth, injected into the blood, or injected into the muscle), how often and what dose is safe

Phase 2 (phase II):A phase II trial continues to test the safety of the drug, and begins to evaluate how well the new drug works against a certain disease

Phase 3 (phase III): These studies test a new drug, a new combination of drugs or a new surgical procedure in comparison to the current standard of care. A participant will usually be assigned to the standard group or the new group at random (called randomization).

Phase 4 (phase IV): Trials study the long-term side effects of the treatments or procedures or answer new questions about the treatment or procedure.  They are done after a new breast cancer treatment or procedure is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

There are many sources you can use for finding clinical trials. Each is a little different and some allow searching for trials based on factors like age, gender, breast cancer history, treatment history and geographic area as well as study-type preferences. For example, BreastCancerTrials.org in collaboration with Susan G. Komen®, offers a custom matching service that can help you find a clinical trial that fits your health needs. Though these sites can be helpful search tools, the best approach is to ask your doctor or local medical center for help finding an appropriate clinical trial.

Learn more: http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/ClinicalTrials.html

http://ww5.komen.org/WhatWeDo/WeFundResearch/ClinicalTrialsWeAreFunding/ClinicalTrialsWeAreFunding.html

Breast Cancer Research: Progress Toward the Cures

bc-research-mtp-pinkMedical research has led to more effective treatments and earlier detection of breast cancer, which contributed to a 37 percent decline in the death rate between 1990 and 2013. Today, more than 3 million people in the U.S. are breast cancer survivors.

Medical research has contributed to:

  • Improved screening and early detection
  • Less invasive surgery
  • Improvements in breast reconstruction
  • Widespread option for breast-conserving surgery
  • Extensive use of sentinel node biopsy
  • More effective chemotherapy
  • More effective hormonal therapy
  • Development and use of targeted therapy
  • Dramatic changes in quality of life for survivors

Learn more about Komen’s research accomplishments: http://ww5.komen.org/WhatWeDo/WeFundResearch/ResearchAccomplishments/ResearchAccomplishments.html