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N. California Researchers Testing Whether Marijuana Chemical Can Slow Cancer Growth, With Funding by Susan G. Komen for the Cure(R)

Largest Breast Cancer Organization Investing $60 Million to Research Despite Down Economy

SAN FRANCISCO, April 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Testing whether a powerful ingredient in marijuana can help slow the growth of aggressive breast cancer cells is just one of six Bay Area breast cancer studies being funded this year by Susan G. Komen for the Cure(R), the global leader in the breast cancer movement announced today.

The projects are part of a $60 million portfolio of 2009 research grants that Komen for the Cure is investing with scientists worldwide to find the cures for breast cancer.

"Breast cancer doesn't care about the economy, and with more than 1.3 million new cases of breast cancer expected this year, the need for new research is more urgent than ever," said Hala Moddelmog, Komen's CEO and president.

In the Bay Area this year, Komen's $1.8 million in grants will go to the University of California at San Francisco, Stanford University School of Medicine and California Pacific Medical Center.

The UCSF study will try to improve bilingual communication and education between Latinas and their health care providers. One Stanford grant, if successful, could reverse some of the debilitating neurological and cognitive side effects of brain metastases, halt the progression of disease and possibly reduce mortality. And CPMC researchers will test whether cannabidiol - an ingredient in marijuana - can inhibit the aggressive growth of some breast cancers.

"Komen's infusion of millions of dollars into research projects means that promising research that is designed to treat and ultimately eradicate breast cancer will continue," said Eric Winer, M.D., Komen's chief scientific advisor.

During the past 27 years, Komen has invested $400 million to fund research globally, starting with Komen's first grant in 1982 for $28,000. A decade later, the annual total had grown to 21 grants worth $590,000 and 10 years after that, Komen distributed $21 million in research funds. This year, Komen is providing researchers worldwide with $60 million. In the last three years alone, Komen has invested nearly $237 million for breast cancer research.

In 2008, Komen created Promise Grants - a new category of multi-year, multi-million dollar grants designed to discover and deliver cures for breast cancer more quickly.

Here is a list of local institutions, the researchers and the projects Komen is funding this year, pending agreements:

University of California at San Francisco

*Celia Kaplan, $450,185, Breast Cancer Risk Reduction in Primary Care Clinics: A Bilingual Intervention for Women and Physicians

Stanford University School of Medicine

*Irene Wapnir, $600,000, From Bench to Bedside: Treatment of Breast Cancer Brain Metastasis with 131I and Radiosensitizers

*Roeland Nusse, $180,000, 'Wnt signaling in human breast cancer stem cells.

*Michael Clarke, $180,000, Functions of microRNAs in metastatic tumor initiating cells of human breast cancer

*Howard Chang, $180,000, Noncoding RNA, Polycomb and Breast Cancer Progression

California Pacific Medical Center

*Sean McAlister, $593,713, Inhibition of Breast Cancer Cell Aggressiveness by Cannabidiol

About Susan G. Komen for the Cure(R)

Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen for the Cure 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(R), 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 or call 1-877 GO KOMEN.

SOURCE Susan G. Komen for the Cure
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