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American Airlines Applauded for Its Fundraising to Support Susan G. Komen for the Cure(R), Promise Grant to The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Date:4/14/2009

Collaboration to Fight Inflammatory Breast Cancer Already Making Gains in First Year of Funding

DALLAS, April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and Susan G. Komen for the Cure(R) today lauded thousands of American Airlines AAdvantage(R) members, employees, and Celebrity Golf and Tennis supporters for helping American meet its promise to fund the fight against a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer.

American's annual Celebrity Golf and Tennis event, plus its Miles for the Cure(TM) program - soon to launch its second year - are funding a unique Komen for the Cure Promise Grant at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center for new treatments for inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). The airline has pledged $8 million over eight years to fund a $7.5 million Promise Grant at M. D. Anderson's Morgan Welch Inflammatory Breast Cancer Clinic, the only clinic of its kind devoted to IBC.

In just one year, American Airlines raised more than $1 million toward that funding goal. Miles for the Cure, for which members of American's AAdvantage travel rewards program receive miles when they donate to Komen, will soon enter its second year. Celebrity Golf and Tennis will mark its 15th year in 2009.

"The real heroes in this effort are our customers and sponsors as well as our employees, whose generosity and support have made it possible to not only meet, but exceed our fundraising goal for Komen to date," said Roger Frizzell, American's vice president - corporate communications and advertising. "We have many loyal sponsors and employee volunteers who return each year to make Celebrity Golf and Tennis a resounding success, and nearly 11,000 AAdvantage members contributed to Miles for the Cure in 2008."

American, whose partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure began more than 20 years ago, was the first of Komen's corporate sponsors to fund a groundbreaking Promise Grant in 2008. Komen Promise Grants are multi-million dollar, multi-year grants that allow scientists in different subspecialties - including genomics, proteomics and nanotechnology - to collaborate and find better ways to test diagnostic procedures as well as new therapies in clinical trials. The 2008 grant has allowed researchers, clinicians, advocates and caregivers at M. D. Anderson to work together on novel approaches to treating the disease.

"This collaboration and this Promise Grant serve as a model for breast cancer research going forward," said Hala Moddelmog, president and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. "We're grateful to American Airlines and its customers and event sponsors for making this potentially life-saving work possible."

"M. D. Anderson is making extraordinary progress because of the generosity of these contributions, which fuel our drive and dedication towards a cure for women afflicted with this disease. This Promise Grant is paving the way for us to move very quickly to glean new information from laboratory models that will lead to better detection and long-term treatments for IBC," said Fredika Robertson, Ph.D., professor of experimental therapeutics at M. D. Anderson.

M. D. Anderson's IBC Clinic has four treatment trials using standard breast cancer therapies. To date, there is no treatment available that was developed to target inflammatory breast cancer.

"The clinical trial developed from Dr. Robertson's laboratory work will be the first line of treatment specifically targeting IBC and offering great promise for our patients," says Massimo Cristofanilli, M.D., IBC clinic director.

IBC affects only one to five percent of women with breast cancer. It is extremely aggressive, rapidly spreading from a small "bug bite" to involve the surface of the entire breast in a matter of weeks. The five-year survival rate is only 40 percent, less than half the rate for other breast cancers. Because it typically does not present like other breast cancers, women often are not diagnosed with IBC until it has spread to other organs. More baffling, the disease affects a disproportionate number of younger, premenopausal women who are typically not considered at risk for breast cancer. To learn more about IBC or the Miles for the Cure program, visit www.komen.org, www.mdanderson.org or www.aa.com/komen.

About Susan G. Komen for the Cure(R)

Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen for the Cure(R) and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen for the Cure is the world's largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure, we have invested more than $1.3 billion to fulfill our promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world. For more information about Susan G. Komen for the Cure, breast health or breast cancer, visit www.komen.org or call 1-877 GO KOMEN.

About The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston ranks as one of the world's most respected centers focused on cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. M. D. Anderson is one of only 41 Comprehensive Cancer Centers designated by the National Cancer Institute. For six of the past nine years, M. D. Anderson has ranked No. 1 in cancer care in "America's Best Hospitals," a survey published annually in U.S. News and World Report.


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SOURCE Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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