Komen Research Awards $600K to The Mayo Clinic Jacksonville


Florida Researchers Receive $1,230,000 in Research Funding

JACKSONVILLE, FLA – September 22, 2016 – Building on its bold goal to reduce current breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the U.S. over the next decade, Susan G. Komen, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, Monday announced $32.7 million in new research grants for 2016. Awarded across 23 states and 7 countries, the projects span the entire continuum of breast cancer research, including research into metastatic disease, novel treatments for aggressive types of breast cancer, new technologies and health equity – areas that will make a significant impact in achieving the 50 percent goal.

The grants include $1,230,000 in new funding for research at three institutions in Florida, bringing Komen’s total research investment in Florida to $14,288,829 since 1982.

“For nearly 35 years our organization has been a leader in the fight to end breast cancer, changing how people think about, talk about and treat this disease. Now, with a sharpened focus on our organization’s new strategic direction, we are delighted to announce new research funding that will play a significant role in making our bold goal a reality,” said Komen President and CEO Judy Salerno, M.D., M.S.

“Not only will these grants accelerate our understanding of key areas in breast cancer research, but they include funding for early-career investigators. As federal research dollars become increasingly difficult to secure, these awards give promising young researchers an opportunity to establish their careers, and help ensure breakthrough breast cancer research continues for years to come,” Dr. Salerno added. “Their work is essential to achieving our vision of a world without breast cancer.”

Grants from Komen’s nearly $33 million 2016 research portfolio* – including more than $16 million to early-career investigators – will focus on promising areas in research that have the greatest potential to save lives, including:

  • 38 grants expanding our knowledge of metastatic breast cancer and how to stop it.
  • 15 grants looking into novel treatments for aggressive types of breast cancer (specifically, triple negative, Luminal B and inflammatory breast cancer).
  • 21 grants advancing our ability to detect primary and recurrent breast cancer at its earliest stages.
  • 12 grants identifying the causes of breast cancer disparities and testing ways to overcome barriers to care.

Komen’s Investments in Florida

Komen’s research program is funded in part by contributions from Komen’s nationwide Network of Affiliates, which direct 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 North Florida has funded $2,721.632 to community programs serving local women and men, while contributing $1,145.178 to Komen research.

“We are so thankful for our friends, family and neighbors who fight alongside us, helping to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths in North Florida, both on the ground and through research,” said Delores Wise, executive director of Komen North Florida. In Florida, researchers will receive $1,230,000.

Miller School of Medicine of the University of Miami

  • Manuel Picon Ruiz, Ph.D., will receive $180,000 to investigate why overweight post-menopausal women are at an increased risk for breast cancer. Dr. Ruiz will test whether circulating estrogens in the blood promote chronic inflammation in the breast – a condition that favors the growth of ER+ breast cancer cells.

The Mayo Clinic Jacksonville

  • Komen Scholar Keith Knutson, Ph.D., will receive $600,000 to develop a vaccine to prevent breast cancer by identifying proteins present only on tumor cells that will trigger an immune response.

Lee Moffit Cancer Center and Research Institute

  • Haitao (Mark) Ji, Ph.D., will receive $450,000 to develop a new targeted therapy which prevents two proteins, called β-Catenin and TCF, from fitting together like a lock and key. Blocking this interaction could prevent the development of drug-resistant triple negative breast cancer.

These new funds bring Komen’s total research investment to more than $920 million since opening its doors in 1982, the largest of any nonprofit outside 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 billion has been invested in community programs that provide education, screening and treatment support.