Grants from Susan G. Komen Bolster Breast Cancer Research in Alabama

Grants for Alabama Breast Cancer Research

Last month, Susan G. Komen committed $4.5 million to fund research into the role that environmental factors can play in the development of breast cancer. This grant is actually just a portion of the foundation’s $42 million 2013 research portfolio, which includes another $1.5 million that will be allocated for two Alabama research institutions.

Susan G. Komen has already invested heavily in research to understand the role that environmental factors such as toxins play when it comes to breast cancer. Although, the grants for this environmental research make up a relatively small proportion of the foundation’s $790 million research program.

“These environmental studies will add to our understanding of how breast cancer develops,” stated Komen Chief Mission Officer, Chandini Portteus. “At the same time, Komen will continue to fund research along the entire cancer spectrum – from prevention, to better screening, more personalized treatments for metastatic disease, and ending disparities in outcomes for women of color and those without adequate access to healthcare.”

Susan G. Komen’s 2013 Commitment to Alabama

The Executive Director of Komen North Central Alabama, Ellen Zahariadis, says that the foundation has allocated more than 13.5 million in research funding to institutions in the state over the past three decades. This Komen affiliate has given $5 million to local health programs that provide financial aid, screenings, education, and support to women and their families throughout Alabama.

“Up to 75 percent of the net funds we raise locally stay here to support our local community health and education programs. The other 25 percent helps fund Komen’s national research programs,” explained Zahariadis. “With important research happening here in Alabama, we contributed an additional $150,000 to help sponsor two exciting research grants being conducting in our service area, bringing our local contribution to research to $366,416 in 2013. Additionally, we are funding more than $550,000 this year in community health programs here in Alabama. We’re thankful for our supporters who help us serve our communities here at home, while supporting our education and research institutions.”

For anyone interested, you can check out a full list of community health programs that are funded by Susan G. Komen of North Central Alabama on their website.

For this year, the grants that have been awarded by the foundation to Alabama include:

  • $1 million for the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. Dr. Richard Myers is working to analyze tumor samples taken from patients with early-stage, estrogen-dependent breast cancer. Dr. Myers will be be recording the effects that therapies to both block the estrogen receptor and prevent the formation of new blood vessels will have on the tumor samples. Researchers want to be able to identify the molecular signature that will allow them to predict which patients will respond to this therapy.
  • $450,000 for the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Dr. Hsin Yang wants to learn how PARP inhibitors, a class of drug compounds that show significant promise as a new treatment for breast cancer, could be used to not only treat but even prevent the development of HER2+ breast cancer.

With 2013 drawing to a close, we will surely be keeping an eye on the developments from these two exciting research grants. As it has done in the past, Alabama institutions have taken up the mantle as trailblazers in critical areas of research and development.


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