Komen News: UCLA Scientists Discuss Komen Research

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Komen News: UCLA Scientists Discuss Komen Research - Monday, September 09, 2013 10:57 AM

Komen News: UCLA Scientists Discuss Komen Research - http://blog.komen.org/?p=3546

Guest post by Margaret Flowers, Ph.D, Komen Science Manager, and Sandra Finestone, Psy.D, Komen Advocate Scholar

Komen’s research investment is the driving force behind our Mission to energize the science to find the cures. We are the largest non-profit funder of breast cancer research in the world with an active research grant portfolio totaling more than $313 million and supporting research in a broad range of breast cancer topics.

Komen Research Highlights
At a recent event hosted by the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), Komen-supported UCLA scientists shared findings from their Komen funded projects with members of the local Komen Affiliates, breast cancer survivors and advocates. Komen Scholar, Dr. Patricia Ganz, M.D., Director of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control Research at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center facilitated the meeting.

Reducing Stress and Recurrence Risk in Young Survivors
Dr. Ganz is supported by a Komen Scholar grant to study how mindfulness may reduce the risk of recurrence in young breast cancer survivors. Preliminary findings showed significant reductions in cancer-related stress in young survivors who participated in a guided meditation practice. This is important, because there is an increase in young breast cancer survivors who have long lives ahead of them after treatment. Dr. Ganz is now expanding the study to include women with metastatic breast cancer.

Promising Targeted Therapies for Breast Cancer Brain Metastasis
Nori Kasahara, MD, PhD, and Komen fellow, Akihito Inagaki, PhD. shared exciting results from their studies using a novel system that delivers cancer drugs directly to the tumor cells without harming the surrounding tissues.  Clinical trials in brain cancer suggest that Dr. Kasahara’s system could be used to treat breast cancer brain metastasis. With support from a Komen postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Inagaki is exploring this potential in mice and early results are promising. If successful, this novel strategy could have enormous impact on the treatment of brain metastasis. Dr. Inagaki, a Japanese citizen, gave a touching thank you to Komen for not only funding his research but for making his dream to do breast cancer research in the U.S. a reality.

Understanding BPA Exposure and Breast Cancer Risk
Susan Krum, PhD. is looking at the controversial role of BPA on the development of breast cancer. BPA, a common chemical found in a variety of household products, is thought to act like the female hormone, estrogen. Studies suggest that BPA and similar estrogenic chemicals in the environment may increase the risk of breast cancer.  Dr. Krum’s early studies show that exposure to BPA stimulates breast tumor growth in mice.  Dr. Krum is a recipient of Komen’s Career Catalyst Research Award, a specialized award designed to provide support to early career scientists. This project not only reflects Komen’s commitment to understanding the impact of environmental exposures on breast cancer risk, but also its commitment to ensuring the future of breast cancer research by supporting the careers of promising young scientists. Dr. Krum’s grant is fully supported by a generous donation from the Princess Cruises Community Foundation in partnership with Susan G. Komen.

It is truly an exciting time in breast cancer research as the rapid pace of technology drives discovery and innovation and continues to expand our understanding of the biology of breast cancer. It’s never been more important for the community to understand the potential for breast cancer research to impact the management, care and outcomes of breast cancer. This symposium gave the affiliate audience an opportunity to feel extremely proud of their contribution to Komen’s Research Programs, and the confidence in knowing that 100% of the money they raise goes towards Komen’s mission to save lives and end breast cancer forever.

Working Together: Scientists, Survivors, Affiliate Network and Advocates in Science
Dr. Sandy Finestone, Psy.D, a long-time breast cancer survivor, Komen Advocate Scholar, and member of Komen’s Advocates in Science steering committee explained how vital it is that the scientists, Affiliate network and Advocates in Science work together. We each have an important role to play in making sure that the patient perspective is always part of the process, advancing the science and not only saving lives today, but creating better treatments for the future.
Together, we’re making a difference.