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Researchers Gather to Address New Tools in Development for Breast Cancer Detection

First Meeting of Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Prevention Research

Initiative Taking Place July 10-11 in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO, July 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Leading breast cancer researchers from across the country are convening in San Francisco July 10-11 for the first meeting of the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Prevention Research Initiative. The two-day meeting, taking place at the Westin St. Francis, brings together researchers from leading institutions who are focused on the remarkable research in breast cancer biomarkers that has taken place over the last three years. The goal is to use the latest biomarker knowledge to develop new tests for the earliest detection and diagnostics in breast cancer -- ultimately leading to monitor the earliest changes in healthy breasts before cancer occurs.

Current breast cancer screening relies primarily on imaging, including mammography, ultrasound and MRI. While these diagnostic modalities provide the opportunity for detection and successful treatment, the aim of the new Avon Foundation-funded research initiative is to pursue non-imaging techniques that offer compelling and innovative opportunities. In support of this novel direction, 12 projects were selected through a competitive application process, with a total of $7.6 million awarded in support of their research. The projects, which are focused on fairly simple but effective methods, range from developing a new "band-aid" dipstick that collects fluid from nipple discharge to several projects that attempt to measure markers in blood to detect the very earliest breast cancer development.

The leaders of the research projects are meeting to present preliminary findings and share ideas in a spirit of collaboration and a shared commitment to ending breast cancer. Included is one pharmaceutical company, A&G Pharmaceutical, in addition to the individual medical researchers.

"The Avon Foundation is proud to support these researchers in their innovative approaches to breast cancer detection and prevention," stated Marc Hurlbert, PhD, Director of the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Crusade. "Our goal is to advance research that will one day eradicate breast cancer and, at the same time, facilitate collaboration and sharing. This meeting is a part of that critical process."

The funded researchers and their research initiatives include:

Kim Baltzell, PhD, University of California San Francisco

Viruses in breast fluid as possible biomarkers for breast cancer

David Gilley, PhD, and Hiromi Tanaka, PhD, Indiana University

Telomere dysfunction markers for breast cancer detection

Bassem Haddad, MD, Georgetown University

Improving the diagnostic power of ductal lavage for early detection of breast cancer by assessing multiple molecular markers in the same specimen

Sam Hanash, MD, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Validation of an autoantibody signature for breast cancer

Gary Johanning, PhD, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Breast cancer screening by assessing serum HERV-K antibodies and RNA

Celina Kleer, MD, University of Michigan

Enhancer of Zeste2 as a biomarker of preneoplastic progression in the breast

Susan Love, MD, Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation

Development of a breast fluid test to identify women at risk for breast cancer

Emanuel Petricoin, PhD, George Mason University

Phosphopeptide biomarkers for early breast cancer detection in women with mammographically occult cancer

Ginette Serrero, PhD, A&G Pharmaceutical

Development of GP88 serum test for early breast cancer diagnosis

Charles Streckfus, DDS, MA, FAOM, University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston

Identifying biomarkers for breast cancer detection in saliva

Sara Sukumar, PhD, Johns Hopkins / Seema Khan, MD, Northwestern

Gene methylation and estradiol levels in random FNA samples as biomarkers of breast cancer risk

Thea Tlsty, PhD, University of California San Francisco

Molecular markers that predict future formation of malignant breast cancer

The Breast Cancer Prevention Research Initiative is one of many programs of the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Crusade. The Avon Crusade first launched in 1992, and, through 2007, more than $525 million has been raised in over 50 countries worldwide to advance access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer, with a focus on the medically underserved. Funding is awarded to beneficiaries ranging from leading cancer centers to community-based nonprofit organizations for breast cancer outreach and education; screening and diagnostics; access to treatment; support services; and medical research. The Avon Crusade is the largest initiative of the Avon Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity with a mission to improve the lives of women, with a focus on breast cancer and domestic violence. For more information:

Also taking place this week in San Francisco is the sixth annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, a weekend-long, 39-mile walk which will raise millions more dollars for the breast cancer cause. The Avon Walk San Francisco, a project of the Avon Foundation, is the sixth of nine Avon Walk events this year. The first five raised more than $30 million. Initial grants are awarded to local breast cancer organizations at the conclusion of each event, ensuring that funds immediately benefit the community, and additional grants are awarded nationwide throughout the year. The Avon Walk San Francisco commences early Saturday morning in Golden Gate Park and ends with a Closing Ceremony back at the same location at 3:00 pm Sunday. The event is expected to exceed last year's total of $5.6 million raised. For more information:

SOURCE Avon Foundation
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