New York, NY – October 1, 2019 – The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) announced its $66 million commitment to fund breast cancer research for 2019-2020. The grants will support the work of nearly 275 scientists at leading academic and medical institutions around the world. BCRF-funded research spans the entire spectrum of cancer – from the most basic biology of a cancer cell to developing innovative treatments and improving quality of life.
“Even while deaths from breast cancer have decreased by 40%—a clear result of research—it remains the leading cause of cancer deaths in women worldwide,” said Myra Biblowit, President & CEO of BCRF. “The necessity and opportunity to eradicate and prevent the disease altogether have never been more urgent. Our investigators are mining every avenue of breast cancer research from the lab to the bedside. They are united in their shared passion to achieve the best outcome for patients.”
Learn more about our research projects by tuning in to BCRF’s official podcast, “Investigating Breast Cancer,” featuring one-on-one interviews with the world’s leading breast cancer experts. Available on iTunes and bcrf.org/podcasts.
What’s new in research for 2019-2020
BCRF funds a diverse array of research across the entire spectrum of breast cancer, including the following major advancements:
BCRF IS LEADING THE CHARGE TO STUDY PRECISION PREVENTION
The first multi-year grants awarded through the Precision Prevention Initiative will focus specifically on prevention of aggressive breast cancers
BCRF is granting $5 million in awards to investigators applying the principles of precision medicine to prevention research—using the tools of artificial intelligence, and mathematics to develop personalized risk prediction models, and new tools and technologies to develop new targeted interventions—taking a personalized approach to prevention. The overarching goal is to reduce the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer by translating the gains made in precision medicine for the treatment of breast cancer to the field of prevention.
BCRF IS THE LARGEST PRIVATE FUNDER OF METASTATIC RESEARCH IN THE U.S.
BCRF dedicates 40 percent of its grant portfolio to metastatic breast cancer research
Each year, BCRF significantly invests in research for metastatic breast cancer (MBC). About 40 percent of BCRF‘s grants are focused on MBC, with more than $27 million allocated this year alone. Studies include understanding the basic biology of how a breast cancer cell develops the ability to spread throughout the body, discovering biomarkers that can predict which cancers are most likely to spread, and the development of new therapies to treat and prevent metastasis.
In addition, BCRF has committed $31 million since 2013 for the Evelyn H. Lauder Founder’s Fund, a global multi-year program dedicated to MBC research. The flagship programs of the Founder’s Fund Initiative are the AURORA programs in the U.S. and Europe—the largest international effort dedicated exclusively to metastatic breast cancer research. AURORA EU is looking to sequence the DNA of over 1,000 patients to understand metastasis. Understanding and finding ways to prevent and treat metastasis would change the very nature of breast cancer, and in turn, all cancers.
BCRF INVESTIGATORS STUDYING THE ROOT OF ALL CANCER CELLS
$38.8 million will be directed to discoveries in tumor biology, the basis of nearly all breakthroughs
Research in tumor biology represents more than half of BCRF research grants with over more than $38.8 million awarded this year because nearly all breast cancer research requires an understanding of cancer’s basic biology. Cancer initiation genes and prevention strategies, new treatments, and biomarkers that can help identify targeted therapies for each patient would remain a mystery without discoveries in the laboratory. BCRF’s continued investment in basic research is moving the needle forward in all areas of breast cancer research in new and innovative ways.
BCRF CONTINUES EFFORTS TO UNDERSTAND INHERITED RISK OF CANCER
Researchers explore genetics, family history, race and ethnicity to better predict risk
BCRF is investing more than $6.9 million in inherited risk research. Studies include understanding how mutations in the breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 modify risk; identifying new breast cancer susceptibility genes and predicting the risk they have on developing breast cancer; and identifying prevention and screening strategies for individuals at high risk.
BCRF RESEARCH SHEDS LIGHT ON LIFESTYLE INTERVENTION STRATEGIES
$10.2 million will fund research to better understand lifestyle and environmental risk in breast cancer
BCRF is committing more than $10.2 million to lifestyle and prevention research. These projects include studies that are discovering the underlying relationship between obesity and breast cancer risk; identifying environmental factors that may influence risk; and lifestyle intervention strategies to reduce the risk of and prevent breast cancer.
BCRF SCIENTISTS SEARCH FOR THE MOST EFFECTIVE, TARGETED TREATMENTS
Investigators are seeking to advance personalized medicine to optimize care
BCRF will invest $37.1 million to improve treatments, develop new therapies and optimize care for patients with breast cancer. As part of these efforts, BCRF will expand the Drug Research Collaborative to include studies of an androgen receptor drug approved for prostate cancer as a possible treatment for certain breast cancers and increase its investment in immuno-oncology.
BCRF INVESTS IN QUALITY OF LIFE DURING AND AFTER BREAST CANCER TREATMENT
There are more than 3.5M survivors in the U.S. today, the largest number in history
This year, BCRF is investing nearly $5.3 million in survivorship research to improve the quality of life of patients during and after treatment. With more than 3.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S., the largest cancer survivor group, alongside the 150,000 estimated people living with metastatic disease, patients face a multitude of physical, mental and emotional challenges, ranging from pain and fatigue to cognitive and sleeping issues. These challenges may persist long after treatment is over or are simply a part of daily life for those who may always require treatment.
“Each year, BCRF-funded investigators bring us closer to our mission of ending breast cancer as a life-threatening disease,” said Dorraya El-Ashry, BCRF Chief Scientific Officer. “With every breakthrough, we are improving outcomes and saving lives.”