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Susan G. Komen for the Cure(R) Makes Unprecedented Research and Local Program Grants
Date:10/14/2008

DETROIT, Oct. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Susan G. Komen for the Cure(R) recently announced the distribution of an unprecedented $100 million in grants to American and international scientists this year alone to fast track breast cancer research. Grants were also made by local Komen Affiliates.

Two researchers from the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and Wayne State University School of Medicine, Julie Boerner, Ph.D., assistant professor, and Guojun Wu, Ph.D., assistant professor, were each awarded $450,000 grants from Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

"We've revamped Komen's research program, challenging the best minds to solve the most difficult issues in breast cancer," said Hala Moddelmog, president and chief executive officer of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. "These grants are geared to results -- finding cures, tailoring treatments and resolving the issues that have stymied the search for a breast cancer cure."

Of the $450,000 grant awarded to Dr. Boerner, Komen Detroit Race for the Cure(R) co-funded her grant with $300,000. Dr. Wu's $450,000 grant was co-funded with $90,000 by the Komen Greater Lansing Affiliate. Drs. Boerner's and Wu's grants were among 26 Career Catalyst Grants made by Komen to fill a critical gap in support and stimulate the transition from training to independence among promising cancer investigators.

Dr. Boerner's grant, titled "Transphosphorylation of the EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) by Met and other receptor tyrosine kinases in breast cancer," involves studying the treatment of patients with advanced breast cancer. The majority of breast cancer deaths arise from the cancer spreading from the breast to lymph nodes and distant sites such as the lung and bone. Once the cancer spreads beyond the breast, the relative five-year survival rate drops from 98 to 26 percent. These statistics tell physicians and scientists that improvements need to be made in the treatment of patients with advanced disease.

Dr. Wu's grant, titled "Investigation of oncogenic properties and therapeutic application of PIK3CA mutations in breast cancer," focuses on the crucial need for information about a target gene which contributes to breast tumorigenesis and the possibility of using this target to design specific drugs to block the development of breast tumors.

"The funding from Komen for the Cure has been so important to low income women in Detroit and southeastern Michigan for breast cancer prevention and care, as well as providing research funds that are invested in Wayne State University and the Karmanos Cancer Institute researchers to further their research in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer," said Gloria Heppner, associate vice president for Research at Wayne State University and chair of the grants committee of the Komen Detroit Race for the Cure. "Komen Detroit is unique in supporting community outreach and service locally, as well as research on a national level. Because of this two-fold commitment to the community and cutting-edge research, they are truly an amazing organization."

These research awards bring the total of current Komen for the Cure research grants to scientists in the state of Michigan to nearly $10 million. A complete list of the grants can be found on http://www.komen.org/grants.

In addition to the grants funded by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Komen Detroit recently awarded local breast cancer screening, treatment support and education program grants of $1.58 million from proceeds raised at the 2008 Komen Detroit Race for the Cure.

The funds raised were distributed among five grants supporting the work of Robert Burack, M.D., Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University; Adnan Hammad, Ph.D., Arab American Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS); Laura Zubeck, Karmanos Cancer Institute; Lisa Berry-Bobovski, Karmanos Cancer Institute; Kelly Brittain, Karmanos Cancer Institute; William Stengle, National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service; and Michelle Graham, M.S.W., Deaf Community Advocacy Network (DEAF C.A.N.!). In addition to these program grants and Dr. Boerner's research grant, Komen Detroit also contributed $376,000 to research grants made by Komen for the Cure.

"The grants we are funding locally will deliver life-saving screening and support to those in our community who are in greatest need," said Maureen Meldrum, Susan G. Komen Detroit Race for the Cure Chair, and director of Breast Cancer Special Programs at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute. "The record revenue achieved by sponsors, donors and advocates working together will make a substantial impact on the breast health of metro Detroit. Together with Komen's research grants, this represents an amazing step in our promise to end breast cancer forever."

Dr. Burack's project will provide Breast Cancer and Cervical Control Program (BCCCP) services to underinsured and at-risk women in Wayne County. Dr. Hammad's ACCESS project will continue to provide an extensive breast cancer education, outreach and screening program in the low-income Arab American community of southeastern Michigan. Zubeck's project benefits the Alexander J. Walt Comprehensive Breast Center of the Karmanos Cancer Institute to cover breast diagnostic and limited treatment services for patients who lack financial means and other resources to pay for their care. The grant to Berry-Bobovski, Brittain and Stengle will enhance existing infrastructures to bring breast health awareness and screening to underserved Detroit and Wayne County African American women. Graham's DEAF C.A.N.! project will establish a breast cancer education and screening program for deaf and hard of hearing women living in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

For more information about Komen Detroit Race for the Cure, scheduled for May 30, 2009, visit http://www.karmanos.org/detroitraceforthecure/. For more information about the Komen Greater Lansing Affiliate, visit http://www.komengreaterlansing.org/.

For more information about cancer care, visit http://www.karmanos.org or call 1-800-KARMANOS.

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(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 nearly $1 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(R), breast health or breast cancer, visit http://www.komen.org or call 1-877-GO KOMEN.

About the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute

Located in mid-town Detroit, MI, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute is one of 41 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Caring for more than 6,000 new patients annually on a budget of $216 million, conducting more than 700 cancer-specific scientific investigation programs and clinical trials, the Karmanos Cancer Institute is among the nation's best cancer centers. Through the commitment of 1,000 staff, including nearly 300 faculty members, and supported by thousands of volunteer and financial donors, the Institute strives to prevent, detect and eradicate all forms of cancer. John C. Ruckdeschel, M.D., is the Institute's president and chief executive officer. For more information call 1-800-KARMANOS or go to http://www.karmanos.org.

About Wayne State University

Wayne State University is one of the nation's pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting, ranking in the top 50 in R & D expenditures of all public universities by the National Science Foundation. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information go to http://www.wayne.edu.


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SOURCE Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute
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