Zhang receives Komen grant

October 6, 2008

UNTHSC Assistant Professor, Epidemiology Fang Fang Zhang M.D., Ph.D., has received a grant of $243,202 for research related to breast cancer. Her grant is part of the largest commitment of breast cancer research funding by a single nonprofit organization. The funding is targeted to 81 universities and hospitals in 27 states and five countries. These grants represent research with the highest likelihood of producing results for patients during the next decade.

"There’s a tremendous urgency to translate what we’re learning in the lab into treatments for patients, particularly patients with very aggressive cancers who don’t have years to wait," said Dr. Eric P. Winer, chief scientific advisor to Susan G. Komen for the Cure and director of the Breast Oncology Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

"The grants we are funding focus on safely and effectively bringing treatments to cancer patients in a more timely way than we have been able to in the past," Winer added.

"We’ve revamped Komen’s research program, challenging the best minds to solve the most difficult issues in breast cancer," said Hala Moddelmog, president and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. "These grants are geared to results – finding cures, tailoring treatments and resolving the issues that have stymied the search for a breast cancer cure."

Some of the biggest questions to be tackled by the Komen-funded research include:

* Why do some breast cancers respond to certain treatments, and others don’t?
* How can we prevent the spread of breast cancer to other organs?
* Does diet and/or obesity play a role in cancer development and treatment?
* Can we predict who is most at risk for developing breast cancer?
* Can we develop a cancer vaccine?
* What technologies will help detect breast cancer at its earliest possible stage?
* What treatments can prolong the lives of those women living with advanced breast cancer?

During the past 25 years, Komen for the Cure has raised and distributed $1.2 billion for research and community health programs. And Komen is pledging to invest another $2 billion during the next 10 years.

This year, Komen introduces new research programs called Promise Grants, which are worth millions of dollars and last for five years. They are designed to get scientists and doctors to work together in new ways to bring treatments out of the laboratory to patients as quickly as possible. Komen also is funding new and bigger grants to attract and retain young cancer researchers.

Moddelmog noted that research and awareness funding has helped ease suffering from breast cancer. "In the past 20 years, we’ve gone from a time when breast cancer was not even discussed, to a new era with higher survivor rates and less invasive treatments than existed even just a decade ago," Moddelmog said.

"Even so, we have so much more to do. Almost 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. this year and more than 40,000 women and men will die of this disease. That adds urgency to our mission to end breast cancer forever."

The Komen grants undergo a rigorous peer-review process by groups of laboratory scientists, clinicians and advocates. These grants fall into the following categories:

* Promise Grants: Large-scale grants, up to $7.5 million each during a five-year period, targeted to research that brings science to the bedside quicker than ever before. Komen will provide $35 million in Promise grants to seven, multi-year projects in 2008.
* Post-Doctoral Research: Grants of $60,000 per year to attract and retain promising young researchers nationwide and internationally. Forty-six scientists will share grant funding that totals $7.7 million over three years.
* Career Catalyst Research: Grants of $150,000 per year for three years to fill a critical gap in support and stimulate the transition from training to independence among promising cancer investigators. Total funding: $10.9 million to 26 researchers.
* Investigator Initiated Research: Grants of up to $200,000 per year for three years to explore new ideas and approaches leading to reductions in breast cancer mortality and/or the incidence within the decade. Total funding: $35.3 million for 60 grants.
* Affiliate Grants: Special grants co-funded by 15 Komen Affiliates to institutions in their hometowns or states.

In addition, Komen has directed $13 million to other cancer research organizations to fund collaborative projects. A complete list of the grants can be found on www.komen.org/grants.

About Susan G. Komen for the Cure®

Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen for the Cure and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen for the Cure is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure Series, we have invested more than $1.2 billion to fulfill our promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world. For more information about Susan G. Komen for the Cure, breast health or breast cancer, visit http://www.komen.org or call 1-877 GO KOMEN.

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