Komen Grants $2.15 million for research to Hopkins University

BALTIMORE, SEPT 16, 2019:  Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, today announced $26 million in funding for new research projects that focus on metastatic breast cancer, developing new, more-effective treatments, and addressing disparities in breast cancer outcomes. This year’s grant slate focuses on key areas that will help the organization achieve its Bold Goal to reduce the current number of breast cancer deaths in the U.S. by 50 percent by 2026.


The grants include $2,150,000 in new funding for research in MARYLAND at Johns Hopkins University.


“In order to save more lives, we must address the main cause of breast cancer deaths: metastatic breast cancer,” said George Sledge, Susan G. Komen’s Chief Scientific Advisor, M.D., Professor of Medicine, and Chief of the Division of Oncology in the Department of Medicine at Stanford University.


Komen’s research grant program is supported in part by funds raised by the organization’s nationwide network of Affiliates. Each year, Affiliates contribute at least 25 percent of local funds raised to research, while the remainder of their funds help provide vital education and real-time support to people facing breast cancer today in their communities.


Since 1993, Komen Maryland has funded more than $30 million to community programs serving local women and men, while contributing nearly $11 million to Komen research.


Komen’s new research in MARYLAND includes three grants at Johns Hopkins University:


Soojung Claire Hur, Ph.D., will receive $450,000 to develop a new system aimed at improving personalized therapy for people living with metastatic breast cancer. She will collect patient blood samples containing metastatic circulating tumor cells and test the effectiveness of drug combinations on those tumor cells. This goal is to create a system that will help doctors, quickly and non-invasively, find the best treatments for their patients.


Debangshu Samanta, Ph.D., will receive $450,000 to study how a protein called BIRC2 protects breast cancer from immunotherapy and promotes metastasis of breast cancer. He will explore if targeting BIRC2 can provide new treatments for metastatic breast cancer that will both improve immunotherapy and stop metastasis.


The Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium (TBCRC), a collaboration of 19 of the top U.S. academic medical centers run through Johns Hopkins University, will receive $1.25 million, bringing Komen’s total investment in TBCRC to $13.75 million since 2008. TBCRC develops and conducts innovative, high-impact, research projects and supports clinical trials that investigate new treatments for breast cancer. Led by Komen Scholar, Antonio Wolff, M.D., the TBCRC has developed 50 clinical trials with more than 5,000 patients enrolled. About half of these trials have focused on metastatic breast cancer, drug resistance and/or recurrence (return of cancer).



More than an estimated 154,000 women in the U.S. are living with metastatic breast cancer – the most advanced stage of breast cancer that has spread outside the breast, often to the brain, bones, liver and lungs. Currently, there is no cure for metastatic breast cancer, and it is responsible for almost all the 42,000 breast cancer deaths in the U.S. each year.


Among the 60 grants Komen awarded nationally, 38 are focused on better understanding and treating metastatic breast cancer. Grants were also given to researchers who are developing new therapies for breast cancer including aggressive subtypes such as triple negative breast cancer, investigating drug resistance, and addressing health disparities in breast cancer outcomes among specific communities.


“Breast cancer does not affect everyone equally and with the grants we’re funding this year, we’re moving closer to new therapies for aggressive forms of cancer, understanding why treatment doesn’t work in some patients and making sure everyone has access to the care they need,” said Paula Schneider, CEO, Susan G. Komen.


These new funds bring Komen’s total research investment in breast cancer to more than $1 billion since opening its doors in 1982, and Komen’s investment in research focused on metastatic breast cancer to $210 million. Since our inception, we have funded more breast cancer research than any other non-profit outside of the U.S. government. In addition to research, Komen and its nationwide network of Affiliates serve women and men in thousands of communities. To date, more than $2.3 billion has been invested in efforts to provide critical education and real-time support to people in communities across the country.


“We are so thankful for the friends, family and neighbors that fight alongside us, helping to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths in Maryland both on the ground and through research,” said Komen Maryland Executive Director Michael Jessup.




About Susan G. Komen®
Susan G. Komen® is the world’s leading nonprofit breast cancer organization, working to save lives and end breast cancer forever. Komen has an unmatched, comprehensive 360-degree approach to fighting this disease across all fronts and supporting millions of people in the U.S. and in countries worldwide.  We advocate for patients, drive research breakthroughs, improve access to high-quality care, offer direct patient support and empower people with trustworthy information.  Born out of a promise between two sisters, Susan G. Komen remains committed to supporting those affected by breast cancer today, while tirelessly searching for tomorrow’s cures.


Grants are contingent upon signed and executed contracts with Komen