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 Education: Understanding a Pathology Report

bc-education-mtp-pinkNot all breast cancers are the same. A biopsy is a test that removes cells or tissue from the suspicious area of the breast. It is needed in order to diagnose breast cancer. Once biopsied, cells are sent to a lab for a pathology report. The following information will usually be available on this report if the cells studied are cancerous:

  • Lymph Node Status: If lymph nodes were removed, a pathology report will show if the lymph nodes contain cancer cells.
  • Tumor Margins: When breast cancer is removed by surgery (during a surgical biopsy, lumpectomy or mastectomy), a rim of normal tissue surrounding the tumor is also removed. This rim is called a margin. It helps show whether or not all of the tumor was removed.
    • Positive (involved) margins: Contain cancer cells.
    • Close margins: Cancer cells approach but do not touch the edge of the biopsy.
    • Negative (not involved, clear or clean) margins: Do not contain cancer cells
  • Tumor Grade: For invasive breast cancers, the shape is noted and a grade is assigned. Tumor grade relates to the structure of the cells. It is different from tumor stage. This determines how different the cancer cells look from healthy cells. In general, the more the cancer cells look like normal breast cells, the lower the grade and the better the prognosis.
    • Grade 1: Cells look most similar to normal and are not growing rapidly.
    • Grade 2: Cells look somewhat different than normal.
    • Grade 3: Cells look very abnormal and may be spreading/growing rapidly.
  • Non Invasive vs. Invasive:
    • Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a non-invasive breast cancer (stage 0).
    • Invasive breast cancer (also called infiltrating cancer) means the cancer cells inside of a milk duct or lobule have broken out and spread to nearby tissues
  • Tumor Size: Tumor size is most often reported in centimeters or millimeters. The best way to measure tumor size is under a microscope. In general, the smaller the tumor size, the better the prognosis.
  • Diagnosis: This is the most important part of the pathology report. It gives the final diagnosis and may include information on the cancer such as tumor size, type, grade, hormone receptor status and HER2/neu status.
  • Hormone Receptor Status: Hormone receptors are proteins found inside some cancer cells. When hormones (estrogen and progesterone) attach to these receptors, they make cancer cells grow. Knowing the hormone receptor status will help guide your treatment.
    • Estrogen and Progesterone Receptive-positive (ER+ and PR+) tumors have many hormone receptors and there are treatments that prevent the cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow may stop tumor growth. .
    • Estrogen and Progesterone Receptive-negative (ER- and PR-) tumors have few or no hormone receptors and are not treated with hormone therapies.
  • HER2/neu Status: (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) is a protein that occurs on the surface of some breast cancer cells.
    • HER2/neu-positive (HER2+) tumors have many HER2/neu genes inside the cancer cells (also called HER2/neu over-expression), which causes a large amount of HER2/neu protein on the surface of the cancer cells. About 15-20 percent of breast cancers are Her2+. These breast cancers tend to be more aggressive than other tumors. There are treatments that specifically target HER2/neu and block the ability of the cancer cells to receive the signals that cause them to grow.
    • HER2/neu-negative (HER2-) tumors have few HER2/neu genes inside the cancer cells and little or no HER2/neu protein on the surface of the cancer cells and are not treated with HER2-targeted therapies.
  • Triple Negative: If all three statuses are negative (ER, PR, and HER2/neu) then the patient’s cancer is Triple Negative Breast Cancer. The current standard of treatment for these cancers is some combination of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. These cancers tend to be very aggressive and recur (come back) early.

Learn more about breast biopsies: http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/Biopsies.html

Learn more about types of breast cancer tumors:

http://ww5.komen.org/uploadedFiles/_Komen/Content/About_Breast_Cancer/Tools_and_Resources/Fact_Sheets_and_Breast_Self_Awareness_Cards/Types%20of%20Breast%20Cancer%20Tumors.pdf

Susan G. Komen Sets Bold Goal to Reduce U.S. Breast Cancer Deaths by 50 Percent in 10 Years

Susan G. Komen® Sets Bold Goal to Reduce U.S. Breast Cancer Deaths by 50 Percent in 10 Years

Plan Targets Health Equity for All, Enhanced Research Focus for Most Lethal Breast Cancers

DALLAS – Sept.13, 2016 – The Susan G. Komen breast cancer organization announced a bold plan today to reduce the nation’s 40,000 breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in 10 years, by improving access to quality and timely cancer care for the underserved and enhancing Komen’s research focus on lethal breast cancers.

“We know that people die of breast cancer for two reasons: a lack of high-quality breast cancer care accessible to everyone, and a lack of treatments for the most aggressive and deadly forms of this disease,” said Dr. Judith A. Salerno, president and CEO of Susan G. Komen. “We are taking direct action designed to solve these problems to reduce breast cancer deaths by half in the U.S. within the next decade.”

bold-goal

$27 Million Advanced for Health Equity 

Salerno said today that Fund II Foundation made a grant worth approximately $27 million for a  program initially targeting 10 metropolitan areas to significantly reduce what she called the “appalling” difference in death rates between African-American and white women. African-American women are nearly 40 percent more likely to die of breast cancer than white women; in some cities, that gap is as high as 74 percent.

“This constitutes a public health crisis that must be addressed, first in the cities where these death rates are highest, and then in all areas of the country,” Salerno said.

Salerno thanked Fund II Foundation for the grant that makes the initiative possible. “The generosity of Fund II Foundation will save lives,” Salerno said. “We are humbled by the faith that Fund II Foundation has placed in this initiative and its interest in ensuring health equity for African-American citizens.”

Fund II Foundation President, Robert F. Smith said, “No longer should African-American women be more likely to die from a breast cancer diagnosis than others. Through this grant supporting Susan G. Komen, Fund II Foundation will help address these unfair disparities across our country.”

Komen’s African-American Health Equity Initiative targets cities where mortality rates and late-stage diagnosis of African-American women are highest. The goal: to reduce the mortality gap by 25 percent within five years of beginning work in each city.

The initial targeted cities are Memphis, Tenn., St. Louis, Mo., Dallas, Los Angeles, Virginia Beach, Va., Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia.  Baltimore and Detroit have been identified as high-priority areas as the program expands over the next year.

The African-American Health Equity Initiative supplements the work that Komen and its network of 100 U.S. Affiliates already are doing to remove barriers to cancer care. Komen and Komen Affiliates support thousands of local programs that provide screenings, treatment assistance, emergency financial aid, medical supplies and living expense for underserved individuals.

The organization has invested more than $2 billion over 34 years for these programs aimed at uninsured, under-insured, and medically vulnerable populations.

“We will never waver from our commitment to remove barriers of language, geography, economics or culture for all people facing this disease.  Every woman or man must be able to access and receive high-quality breast health and breast cancer care, be supported through their treatment and into survivorship,” Salerno said.

Research

The second prong of Komen’s plan enhances Komen’s focus on aggressive forms of breast cancer and metastatic disease (stage IV or cancer that has spread to other parts of the body).

As the largest nonprofit funder of breast cancer research (investing more than $920 million since inception), Komen has funded nearly $160 million in metastatic disease research since its founding. Komen has funded another $110 million in research on aggressive forms of breast cancer – such as triple negative, inflammatory breast cancer and hormone-positive forms of breast cancer – that are resistant to standard treatments.

“The majority of breast cancer deaths are from metastatic breast cancer. We also know that aggressive forms of breast cancer are more likely to recur and spread, so we are focusing our efforts in both of these areas,” Salerno said.

The new initiative aims to advance research into new treatments for aggressive and metastatic disease. Komen also will seek to leverage next-generation technology that can detect breast cancer at its very earliest stages to prevent recurrence and metastasis.

Progress to Date

Salerno said Komen’s bold goal builds on the progress of the breast cancer movement since Komen was founded in 1982. “Death rates from breast cancer have declined by 37 percent since 1990. We have more treatments than at any time in our history. We’ve come a very long way from a time when breast cancer couldn’t be discussed publicly. Our new bold goal requires us to take a deeper dive and stretch further to ensure that every woman or man can be told, ‘There is help and hope for you.’”

About Susan G. Komen®

Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit outside of the federal government while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Since its founding in 1982, Komen has funded more than $920 million in research and provided more than $2 billion in funding to screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs serving millions of people in more than 30 countries worldwide. Komen was founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life. Visit komen.org or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at ww5.komen.org/social.

About Fund II Foundation

Fund II Foundation makes grants to 501(c)(3) public charities in five areas:  1) preservation of the African-American experience, 2) safeguarding human dignity by giving a voice to the voiceless and promoting human rights 3) improving environmental conservation and providing outdoor education that enables people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy the numerous benefits of the great outdoors 4) facilitating music education, particularly in primary and secondary schools, to nourish both the mind and the soul 5) and sustaining the uniquely American values of entrepreneurship, empowerment, innovation and security.  For more information on Fund II Foundation, visit www.fund2foundation.org.

 

Breast Cancer Research: Triple Negative Breast Cancer

2015KomenNCR-NBCAMGraphicFaceookCover-ResearchAbout 15 to 20 percent of breast cancers diagnosed today in the U.S. are triple negative breast cancers (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 $80 million in more than 115 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

and

http://ww5.komen.org/uploadedFiles/Content/ResearchGrants/GrantPrograms/TNBCFINAL.pdf

We are celebrating National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Connect with and follow Komen St. Louis and use #Komen365 to join in the conversation.

Breast Cancer Education: Understanding a Pathology Report

2015KomenNCR-NBCAMGraphicFaceookCover-GeneralNot all breast cancers are the same. A biopsy is needed in order to diagnose breast cancer. Once biopsied, cells are sent to a lab for a pathology report. The following information will usually be available on this report if the cells studied are cancerous:

  • Diagnosis: This is the most important part of the pathology report. It gives the final diagnosis and may include information on the cancer such as tumor size, type, grade, hormone receptor status and HER2/neu status.
  • Tumor Size: Tumor size is most often reported in centimeters or millimeters. The best way to measure tumor size is under a microscope. In general, the smaller the tumor size, the better the prognosis.
  • Non Invasive vs. Invasive:
    • Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a non-invasive breast cancer (stage 0).
    • Invasive breast cancer (also called infiltrating cancer) means the cancer cells inside of a milk duct or lobule have broken out and spread to nearby tissues.
  • Tumor Grade: For invasive breast cancers, the shape is noted and a grade is assigned. Tumor grade relates to the structure of the cells. It is different from tumor stage. This determines how different the cancer cells look from healthy cells. In general, the more the cancer cells look like normal breast cells, the lower the grade and the better the prognosis.

– Grade 1: Cells look most similar to normal and are not growing rapidly.
– Grade 2: Cells look somewhat different than normal.
– Grade 3: Cells look very abnormal and may be spreading/growing rapidly.

  • Tumor Margins: During a surgical biopsy, an area of normal breast tissue around the suspicious area will be taken out to be sure the entire tumor is removed. The pathologist looks at the margins and decides whether or not they contain cancer cells.

– Positive (involved) margins: Contain cancer cells.
– Close margins: Cancer Cells approach but do not touch the edge of the biopsy.
– Negative (not involved, clear or clean) margins: Do not contain cancer cells

  • Lymph Node Status: If lymph nodes were removed, a pathology report will show if the lymph nodes contain cancer cells.
  • Hormone Receptor Status: Hormone receptors are proteins found inside some cancer cells. When hormones (estrogen and progesterone) attach to these receptors, they make cancer cells grow. Knowing the hormone receptor status will help guide your treatment.

– Estrogen and Progesterone Receptive-positive (ER+ and PR+) tumors have many hormone receptors and treatments that prevent the cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow may stop tumor growth. .

– Estrogen and Progesterone Receptive-negative (ER- and PR-) tumors have few or no hormone receptors and are not treated with hormone therapies.

  • HER2/neu Status: (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) is a protein that occurs on the surface of some breast cancer cells.

– HER2/neu-positive (HER2+) tumors have many HER2/neu genes inside the cancer cells (also called HER2/neu over-expression), which causes a large amount of HER2/neu protein on the surface of the cancer cells. About 15-20 percent of breast cancers are Her2+. These breast cancers tend to be more aggressive than other tumors.

– HER2/neu-negative (HER2-) tumors have few HER2/neu genes inside the cancer cells and little or no HER2/neu protein on the surface of the cancer cells

  • Triple Negative: If all three statuses are negative (ER, PR, and HER2/Neu) then the patient’s cancer is Triple Negative Breast Cancer. The current standard of treatment for these cancers is some combination of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. These cancers tend to be very aggressive and recur early.

Learn more about breast biopsies: http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/Biopsies.html

Learn more about types of breast cancer tumors:

http://ww5.komen.org/uploadedFiles/_Komen/Content/About_Breast_Cancer/Tools_and_Resources/Fact_Sheets_and_Breast_Self_Awareness_Cards/Types%20of%20Breast%20Cancer%20Tumors.pdf

We are celebrating National Breast Cancer Awareness Month for the next six weeks. Connect with and follow Komen St. Louis and use #Komen365 to join in the conversation.

Komen 2015 Research Grants Include $447,000 to Washington University School of Medicine

Infographic 9-18-15 FRelease

Today, Susan G. Komen, the world’s largest nonprofit funder of breast cancer research, announced new grants to 124 researchers in 25 states and eight countries internationally, with about half of the grants targeted to early-career researchers squeezed by stagnation in federal research dollars.

The grants include more than $447,000 in new funding for research at Washington University School of Medicine, bringing Komen’s total research investment in Missouri to $22,372,092 since 1982.

The 2015 research grants expand Komen’s ongoing commitment to funding early-career scientists, that is, recent graduates and those trying to establish independent research careers. This group has been especially hard hit by real-dollar declines of as much as 25 percent in federal research funding over the past decade.

“We committed two years ago to do all that we can to ensure that talented early-career investigators remain in the breast cancer research field, while continuing our support for established researchers,” said Komen President and CEO Judith A. Salerno, M.D., M.S. “We cannot afford to lose talented scientists to other fields for lack of funding.”

This year’s research slate brings Komen’s total research investment to more than $889 million since 1982, the largest of any nonprofit, and second only to the U.S. government.

Grants from Komen’s nearly $36 million research portfolio – including more than $17.6 million in grants awarded to early-career investigators – span the entire cancer continuum from prevention to treatments for aggressive and metastatic disease. These include:

  • 36 grants to improve understanding of metastatic breast cancer
  • 18 grants investigating how tumors develop drug resistance
  • 19 grants related to the study of triple negative breast cancer – one of the most aggressive forms of the disease
  • 15 grants working to identify and understand biological and socio-economic health inequities
  • 13 grants seeking to develop new and novel therapies

Komen’s Investments in Missouri

Komen’s research program is funded in part by contributions from Komen’s nationwide network of Affiliates, which direct 25 percent of locally raised funds to Komen’s national research program. The remaining 75 percent of net funds are invested into community outreach programs that serve local women and men facing breast cancer.

“We are so proud to have the support of this community as we help our friends, coworkers and neighbors who are facing breast cancer, and work for continued progress against breast cancer through research,” said Helen Chesnut, Komen St. Louis executive director.

In Missouri, more than $452,000 will be invested into breast cancer research efforts in the state.

These funds include more than $447,000 to Adetunji Toriola, M.D., Ph.D., of Washington University School of Medicine to investigate the relationship between mammographic density and the RANK pathway, which was recently demonstrated to play an important role in the growth of breast cell types that contribute to breast density in pre-clinical studies and therefore may impact breast cancer risk.

A full list of Komen’s 2015 research grants can be found here. (Grants are contingent upon signed and executed contracts with Komen.)

In addition to funding breast cancer research, Komen has invested more than $1.95 billion into community health outreach and global programs that serve hundreds of thousands of women and men annually through breast cancer health and support programs that screen, educate and provide financial, medical and psychosocial assistance.

For more information about Komen’s mission investment, please visit komen.org.

For more information about Komen St. Louis, please visit komenstlouis.org.

Breast Cancer Research: Triple Negative Breast Cancer

SGK_NBCAM_2014_ResearchAbout 15 to 20 percent of breast cancers diagnosed today in the U.S. are triple negative breast cancers (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 $74 million in more than 100 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 that targets a “death receptor” in TNBC cells and 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

We’re celebrating National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Connect with and follow Komen St. Louis and use the hashtag #bcjourney to join in the conversation.

Breast Cancer Education: Breast Biopsy

SGK_NBCAM_2014_EducationNot all breast cancers are the same. A biopsy is needed in order to diagnose breast cancer. Once biopsied, cells are sent to a lab for a pathology report. The following information will usually be available on this report if the cells studied are cancerous:

  • Diagnosis: This is the most important part of the pathology report. It gives the final diagnosis and may include information on the cancer such as tumor size, type, grade, etc.
  • Tumor Size: Tumor size is most often reported in centimeters. In general, the smaller the tumor the size, the better the prognosis.
  • Non Invasive vs. Invasive: Status will be on the report.
  • Tumor Grade: For invasive tumors, the shape is noted and a grade is assigned. Tumor grade relates to the structure of the cells. It is different from tumor stage. This determines how different the cancer cells look from healthy cells.

Grade 1: Cells look most similar to normal and are not growing rapidly.

Grade 2: Cells look somewhat different than normal.

Grade 3: Cells look irregular and may be spreading/growing aggressively.

  • Tumor Margins: An area of normal breast tissue around the suspicious area will be taken out to be sure the entire tumor is removed. A report will show positive, close or negative margins.

Positive: Margins contain cancer cells.

Close: Cancer cells approach but do not touch the edge of the biopsy.

Negative: The margins do not contain cancer cells.

  • Lymph Node Status: If lymph nodes were removed, a pathology report will show if the lymph nodes contain cancer cells.
  • Hormone Receptor Status: Hormone receptors are proteins found inside some cancer cells. When hormones attach to these receptors, they make cancer cells grow. Knowing the hormone receptor status will help guide your treatment.

Estrogen and Progesterone Receptive-positive (ER+ and PR+) tumors have many hormone receptors.

Estrogen and Progesterone Receptive-negative (ER- and PR-) tumors have few or no hormone receptors.

  • HER2/neu Status: Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 is a protein that occurs on the surface of some breast cancer cells. About 15-20 percent of breast cancers are Her2+. These breast cancers tend to be more aggressive than other tumors.

HER2/neu-positive (HER2+) tumors have many HER2/neu genes inside the cancer cells (also called HER2/neu over-expression), which causes a large amount of HER2/neu protein on the surface of the cancer cells.

HER2/neu-negative (HER2-) tumors have few HER2/neu genes inside the cancer cells and little or no HER2/neu protein on the surface of the cancer cells.

  • Triple Negative: If all three statuses are negative (ER, PR, and HER2/Neu), then the patient’s cancer is Triple Negative Breast Cancer. The current standard of treatment for these cancers is limited to chemotherapy. These cancers tend to be very aggressive and reoccur early.

Learn more about breast biopsies: http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/Biopsies.html

Learn more about types of breast cancer tumors: http://ww5.komen.org/uploadedFiles/Content_Binaries/806-369.pdf

We’re celebrating National Breast Cancer Awareness Month for the next six weeks. Connect with and follow Komen St. Louis and use the hashtag #bcjourney to join in the conversation.

Race for the Cure Participants Support Breast Cancer Research, Services and Education in St. Louis

Siteman Cancer Center is fighting breast cancer on multiple fronts, thanks in part to the $20 million in grants Susan G. Komen® has awarded to Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital researchers and clinicians since 2008.

This funding is aiding the search for improved drug therapies, increasing access to breast screenings and educating women in the St. Louis area about breast health.

Cynthia Ma, MD, PhD

Cynthia Ma, MD, PhD

The impact can’t be underestimated, said Cynthia Ma, MD, PhD. Last year, Komen awarded her a four-year, $1 million grant aimed at improving drug therapies for breast cancer patients by fine-tuning how investigational drugs are tested.

“With Komen’s help, we intend to learn how to better select patients for clinical trials, based on their tumor types, so we can determine which drugs work best for each person,” said Ma, an associate professor of medicine and a Siteman research member.

The grant also is funding a more personalized approach to treating women with triple-negative breast cancer, one of the most aggressive forms of the disease.

Ma shares the grant with Shunqiang Li, PhD, a Washington University research instructor and Siteman research associate member. Matthew Ellis, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and leader of Siteman’s Breast Cancer Research Program, is a collaborator. Their project builds on past Komen-funded research at Washington University School of Medicine.

Anyone can contribute to the 16th Annual Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure, to be held June 14. Since 1999, local Race participants have raised tens of millions of dollars to fight breast cancer. What they might not know is how much their contributions have assisted screening, research and other efforts in St. Louis.

Of the net proceeds raised from the local Race, 75 percent stays in St. Louis to help organizations such as Siteman provide breast cancer screening, education and other breast health services. For example, with Komen funds, Siteman has provided free mammograms to more than 3,200 underserved, low-income women per year.

Barnes_mammography van image“Komen’s help is essential in Siteman’s outreach efforts, and without them we simply would not be able to provide screening to the underserved at the levels we do,” said Susan Kraenzle, RN, manager of the Joanne Knight Breast Health Center at Washington University Medical Center.

Research grants are another way Race for the Cure registration fees and donations are put to work. Money raised at the Komen St. Louis Race and at Komen Race events nationwide has sent millions of dollars in Komen grants to Washington University scientists at Siteman.

Other such Komen-funded recipients aim to:

  • Develop a personalized breast cancer vaccine aimed at preventing recurrence of the disease. The project involves decoding the DNA of patients and identifying the differences between normal cells and cancer cells, then designing a vaccine for each patient using her own immune system to destroy the cancer cells. For the project, William Gillanders, MD, professor of surgery, received a $6.5 million Komen grant and is working with Elaine Mardis, PhD, co-director of The Genome Institute and the Robert E. and Louise F. Dunn Distinguished Professor of Medicine at the School of Medicine, and Ted Hansen, PhD, professor of pathology and immunology and of genetics.
  • Better identify which women with estrogen receptor-positive (ER-positive) breast cancer, the most common form of the disease, are at the highest risk of recurrence and to find more effective treatments for those individuals. Komen contributed a $4 million grant to the study by Ellis and co-recipients Mardis and Pascal Meier, PhD, of The Institute of Cancer Research in London.
  • Increase the number of area women who have been screened, and reduce the number who receive late-stage diagnoses. Services offered through the Breast Health Care for At-Risk Communities project include: education, outreach, diagnosis and referral to Siteman’s medical oncology navigator for support during treatment.

Race for the Cure participants in St. Louis and beyond make the grants possible.

“It moves me to see how our city turns out the way it does,” Kraenzle said. “I lost a sister to breast cancer, and I wish she were here to see this and know people are fighting for her and her kids.”

 

Come Dance With Me at Caliente for the Cure!

Guest Writer: Tara Boland, Komen St. Louis Supporter

As a 37-year-old mother of four young children who is fighting metastatic triple-negative breast cancer, I am STILL “shaking it” in my Zumba classes. In fact, it occurred to me recently that Zumba was the one constant that has been nothing but positive in my battle since being diagnosed in May 2012.

Tara Boland (center left in lime Caliente for the Cure T-shirt) and a few of her Zumba-loving friends

Tara Boland (center left in lime Caliente for the Cure T-shirt) and a few of her Zumba-loving friends

I have attended Caliente for the Cure, Komen St. Louis’ Zumba Fitness event, two times, both as a supporter and then a survivor. Last year’s Caliente for the Cure gave me the boost I needed to begin gearing up for chemo…all the while pregnant. The encouragement I received from this event was empowering! A gym packed full of fun! Last year I continued to Zumba throughout my pregnancy, chemo and radiation. In fact, I went to Zumba the day before the delivery of my miracle baby Sam!

Why is Zumba the PERFECT exercise? Well, it is ideal for all ages and all physical fitness levels. You MUST have a desire to party, feel happy and be physically fit at the same time.

Even on my darkest days, where either emotional or physical pains are very present, I still force myself to Zumba, knowing that my spirits will be lifted. It is my happy pill. It is the time I forget about cancer and feel not only the music, but also the love of the people around me.

Please come to Caliente for the Cure on June 14 in honor of those women who have lost their battle with breast cancer, for those who are currently battling, and as a thank you for your own health. Come dance with me! I will be the one with the silly grin full of dimples, shaking it for the cure!

I believe in the power of positivity and rely on the generosity of others to continue to fund breast cancer research. I have HOPE that I will be here to raise my four children. I have FAITH that there will be a cure. I have LOVE for everyone who dances with me, accepts me as is. I have danced bald, fat and in Depends undergarments. At no point did I not FEEL THE MUSIC. Come join me as we raise money and celebrate life!

Caliente 2013Remember, Komen St. Louis puts the money raised at Caliente and other events to work here in St. Louis AND helps fund breast cancer research. Komen-funded research grants have helped create lifesaving meds like Tamoxifen and Herceptin. Now we need a targeted chemo drug for triple-negative breast cancer, which often affects young women. Help me help Komen fund the research!

The 5th Annual Komen St. Louis Caliente for the Cure takes place on Friday, June 14, from 6-8 pm at Saint Louis University’s Simon Recreation Center. Learn more and register.