Komen NC Triangle to the Coast introduces New Metastatic Breast Cancer Research Initiative

Accelerating Bench to Bedside Research on Metastatic Breast Cancer


RALEIGH, NC (December 5, 2019) – Susan G. Komen® North Carolina Triangle to the Coast announced today at its sixth Annual Finding Solutions Research Luncheon the introduction of a groundbreaking project, the first of its kind, bringing together Susan G. Komen® and two of the world’s most renowned cancer centers to accelerate “bench to bedside” research on metastatic breast cancer.

“Death from metastatic breast cancer is unacceptable. Now is the time to focus on the only breast cancer that kills. Research is hope for those fighting metastatic breast cancer today, and for those who will be diagnosed tomorrow,” shared Pam Kohl, executive director at Komen NC Triangle to the Coast (NCTC).

In 2016, Susan G. Komen® set its “Bold Goal” to reduce breast cancer deaths in the U.S by 50 percent by 2026. The leading cause of breast cancer death is metastatic breast cancer (MBC).

“Today, the five-year survival rate for metastatic breast cancer is twenty-five percent. There is a unique opportunity in the Triangle area to provide breakthrough research at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill targeted specifically at metastatic breast cancer,” said Lori Maris, Senior Vice President, Affiliate Network at Susan G. Komen.

During today’s event, Maris made the special announcement to a sold-out audience of over 300, including researchers, survivors, individuals living with metastatic disease, corporate and private philanthropists, and others impacted by the disease.

“Not only is breakthrough research needed to help us reach our Bold Goal at Komen, but it is also critical for increasing the current rate of survivorship of those diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. We are inspired by the leadership of the Komen NC Triangle to the Coast affiliate to develop and lead this game-changing initiative,” added Maris, who provides guidance and direction to the Komen global headquarters team and local Affiliate leadership.

The MBC Research Initiative will ignite collaboration and fast track lifesaving research for MBC. By leveraging local expertise and removing research silos that slow progress, new ways for patients to live well and longer will be discovered. This strategy will be led by Pam Kohl, who will move from eight years as executive director of Komen NCTC to become the Affiliate’s director of the metastatic breast cancer initiative.

“It is research that will cure this disease, and until then, it is research that will transform metastatic breast cancer from terminal to chronic, giving patients and their families the priceless gift of time,” said Kohl, adding, “I am honored to lead this unique opportunity. Working together with the brilliant minds at UNC and Duke, we can have a global impact that begins right here in the Research Triangle.”

“We are so pleased to launch this one-of-a-kind initiative which we believe will move the needle in reducing breast cancer deaths across our state and around the globe. With Pam’s strategic vision and passion for research, this initiative will help us find the cures for the most aggressive and deadliest forms of breast cancer,” said Valencia Davis, president of the Board of Directors at Komen NCTC.

The board will immediately conduct a national search for a new executive director. Krista Park Berry, the Affiliate’s Director of Development and Communications, will serve as acting director during the interim. In addition, an anonymous early investor in the MBC Challenge has committed $50,000 a year for two years to support the development of this initiative.

MBC is an advance (stage IV) of breast cancer where tumor cells have spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones, liver, lungs or brain. In the U.S., it’s estimated that at least 154,000 people have MBC. This year, more than 42,000 women and men will die from breast cancer.

About Susan G. Komen® North Carolina Triangle to the Coast

Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Komen has set a Bold Goal to reduce the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the U.S. by 2026. Komen was founded in 1982 by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life.

Komen North Carolina Triangle to the Coast (NCTC) is working to better the lives of those facing breast cancer in the local community. Komen NCTC has invested more than $14 million in community breast health programs in its 29-county service area and has helped contribute over $5 million to the more than $1 billion invested globally in research.


CONTACT:     Krista Park Berry, Development and Communications Director at (919) 810-4511 | kparkberry@komennctc.org