Komen Grants $1.6 million to Johns Hopkins for Research

Susan G. Komen, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, recently announced 2017 research funding of $30.7 million for 98 research grants, with a focus on new treatments and understanding of the most lethal forms and stages of breast cancer. Komen funding to institutions in 27 states and 7 countries also includes research into new screening technologies, treatments for metastatic and aggressive types of breast cancer and disparities in breast cancer outcomes.

The grants include $1,699,278 in new funding for research at one institution in Maryland, bringing Komen’s total research investment in Maryland to $40,544,298 since 1982.

“We are focused on new treatments, ways to overcome drug resistance in breast cancer patients, and a better understanding of how and why breast cancer spreads, so that we can better treat metastatic breast cancer or prevent it all together,” said Ellen Willmott, interim president and CEO of Susan G. Komen. “This focus on aggressive and metastatic disease is the foundation of our Bold Goal to reduce U.S. breast cancer deaths by 50 percent by 2026.”

Metastatic breast cancer – which is breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body like the brain, liver, bones or lungs – is responsible for almost all of the nation’s 40,000 annual breast cancer deaths. More than 154,000 women are living with metastatic disease in the U.S. today. By targeting metastatic disease, Komen is hoping to reduce breast cancer deaths dramatically in the U.S.

 This year’s funding also includes $17.6 million to early-career investigators. “Funding for early-career researchers ensures a continuum of breast cancer research, across generations, which is critical in a time of tightening federal research dollars,” Willmott said.

Komen’s 2017 portfolio includes*:

  • 37 grants expanding our knowledge of metastatic breast cancer and how to better treat it or prevent it;
  • 37 grants looking into novel treatments for aggressive types of breast cancer (specifically, triple negative, inflammatory breast cancer luminal B, and ER-positive recurrent breast cancer).
  • 59 grants focused on new therapies, including 10 for targeted therapies and 20 for drug development
  • 24 investigating drug resistance (why drugs stop working in some patients)
  • 9 on disparities in breast cancer outcomes and 2 involving Big Data

*Eds Note: Numbers may add to more than 98 because individual studies may be classed in more than one category.

Komen’s Investments in Maryland

Komen’s research program is funded in part by contributions from Komen’s nationwide Network of Affiliates, which directs 25 percent of funds raised locally to Komen’s national research program, while investing the remaining 75 percent into community outreach programs that serve local women and men facing breast cancer.

Since 1994, Komen Maryland has funded $20,808,006 to community programs serving local women and men, while contributing $$10,252,963 to Komen research.

“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 Michael Jessup, Komen Maryland Executive Director.

In Maryland, researchers will receive…

Johns Hopkins University

Daniele Gilkes, Ph.D., will receive $450,000 to determine if the tumor cells that are deprived of oxygen might have an advantage that makes them more likely to spread (metastasize).  Dr. Gilkes will use this information to better identify the specific mechanisms that encourage certain breast cancer cells to survive and spread even when oxygen is not available.

Komen Scholar Ben Ho Park, M.D., Ph.D., will receive $600,000 to design a treatment strategy to target abnormal proteins only found in cancer cells, which result from a mutation in a specific gene called SF3B1.  The goal of this research is to help develop new therapies for breast cancer patients with this gene mutation.

Anne Rositch, Ph.D., will receive nearly $450,000 to work to improve breast cancer outcomes in Tanzania, where the 5-year breast cancer survival rate is only 50%.  By working with the breast cancer community and using patient data and collaborating with local stakeholders, Dr. Rositch and her team will select, implement, and evaluate strategies to improve early detection rates and address barriers to care facing women in the region..

Komen Scholar Antonio Wolff, M.D., will receive $200,000 to run a pilot clinical trial aimed at improving communications between patients, caregivers and doctors in an outpatient setting. The goal of the clinical trial is to determine if improving this communication leads to better management of the patient’s care and improve the patient’s quality of life.

In Maryland at Johns Hopkins University, the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium (TBCRC), a collaboration of 19 of the top U.S. academic medical centers, with support of an ongoing Komen grant, continues to develop and conduct innovative, high impact, biologically-driven translational research projects and clinical trials investigating new treatment approaches for breast cancer. Led by Komen Scholar, Antonio Wolff, M.D., the TBCRC has developed 47 clinical trials, about half of which have focused on metastatic breast cancer, drug resistance and/or recurrence since 2006.

These new funds bring Komen’s total research investment in breast cancer to more than $956 million since opening its doors in 1982, the largest of any nonprofit and second only to 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 $2.1 billion has been invested in community programs that provide education, screening and treatment support.

Maryland also has four ongoing grants, awarded in previous years

About Susan G. Komen®
Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization outside of the federal government, 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 more than $956 million in research and provided more than $2.1 billion in funding to screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs. Komen has worked in more than 60 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 komen.org or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at ww5.komen.org/social


Grants are contingent upon signed and executed contracts with Komen