North Carolina Breast Cancer Researchers to Receive More Than $2 Million in New Funding

North Carolina Breast Cancer Researchers to Receive More Than $2 Million in New Funding

RALEIGH– Susan G. Komen® announced today more than $2 million in research funding to 9 programs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University.  Komen Scholar Neil Spector, M.D., of Duke University, is one of the recipients.

 Pam Kohl, executive director of Komen North Carolina to the Coast said, “The grants bring Komen’s total research investment in North Carolina to nearly $31 million since 1982. Since 1997, the Affiliate has funded nearly $15 million to community health programs that provide screening, education, financial aid, and social and emotional support to women and families throughout our 29 county service area in Central and Eastern North Carolina.”

Seventy-five percent of the net funds raised by Komen NCTC are invested into our local community. The other 25 percent helps fund Komen’s national research programs.

In 2014, North Carolina Komen research funds will be used to investigate triple negative breast cancer, tumor resistance and more.

Duke University

  • Nearly $450,000 in funding to Zachary Hartman, Ph.D., to determine if triple negative breast cancer grows and spreads throughout the body by utilizing inflammatory pathways – a function that is normally used by the body as a defense mechanism.
  • $175,000 in continued funding to Komen Scholar Kimberly Blackwell, M.D. will continue to compare gene mutations that occur in primary triple negative breast tumors to those that are present in a reappearance of the initial tumor. In addition, she will further study the protein dynein, a predictive marker of response to taxane-based chemotherapy, in triple negative breast cancer.
  • $175,000 in continued funding to Komen Scholar Gerard Blobe, M.D., Ph.D., will continue to investigate whether loss of the transforming growth factor-beta receptor, TβRIII, a protein on the cell surface whose normal function is to inhibit breast cancer formation, is responsible for a decrease in the stiffness of a cancer cell. Cancer cells that are less stiff and more pliable allow the breast cancer cells to become more mobile and invasive.
  • $200,000 in continued funding to Komen Scholar Neil Spector, M.D., will continue to work to identify the different mechanisms involved in therapeutic resistance. Specifically, Dr. Spector will investigate the role of two key proteins, MDM2 and p85, in the development of resistance to HER2 targeted therapies, in addition to other therapies.
  • $35,000 to Kim Lyerly, M.D., to conduct a workshop designed for scientists and consumer advocates to discuss new approaches to developing or enhancing agents for the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of cancer.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • $450,000 in funding to Michael Emanuele, Ph.D., to apply large-scale technologies which will systematically identify proteins that are broken down and recycled by the E3 Ubiquitin protein family. Any differences that occur in cancer cells compared to normal cells will help to identify possible therapeutic targets that promote cancer growth, with a focus on finding novel therapies for triple negative breast cancer.
  • $200,000 in continued funding to Komen Scholar Lisa Carey, M.D. is developing a method to rapidly assess the genetic traits of the primary breast tumor and compare it to those found elsewhere in the body (metastases) in order to uncover which genetic changes occurred that resulted in the development of metastatic disease.
  • $175,000 in continued funding to Komen Scholar Claire Dees, M.D., M.Sc., will continue to build a strategic infrastructure that will encourage greater numbers of patients with metastatic breast cancer to enroll in narrowly focused Phase 1 clinical trials which will facilitate additional research into treatments for metastatic breast cancer patients and improving patient access to new drugs.
  • More than $50,000 in funding to Shelton Earp, M.D., to carry out Phase III of the Carolina Breast Cancer Study (CBCS) – the largest population-based study of breast cancer in African-American and Caucasian women – which will involve obtaining clinical treatment and outcomes data from this population while working with healthcare providers across North Carolina to get treatment records. The study would be the first to address how treatment decisions, access to care, and financial or geographic barriers impact breast cancer

A complete list of Komen’s 2014 research grants can be found here

*Grant is awarded when agreement is signed with Komen

About Susan G. Komen®

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. Since its founding in 1982, Komen has funded over $847 million in research and provided $1.8 billion in funding to screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs serving millions of people in more than 30 countries worldwide. Komen was founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life. Visit or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Komen North Carolina Triangle to Coast

The Komen North Carolina Triangle to the Coast (NCTC) Affiliate serves 29 counties in central and eastern North Carolina; holding two annual Race for the Cure events in Raleigh (June 13, 2015) and Wilmington (March 7, 2015). Since its first Race in 1997, nearly $15 million has been raised and used locally for breast cancer research, education, advocacy, health services and social programs. Seventy-five percent of the net proceeds generated by the Affiliate stay in the service area. In 2014, $738,000 was granted to provide a continuum of breast health services to underinsured and uninsured women from the Triangle to the Coast.

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