Since its founding by the late Evelyn Lauder alongside her dear friend Larry Norton, MD, in 1993, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) has championed research as the key to one day curing breast cancer. For decades, BCRF has supported the world’s most promising research with an eye toward advancing vital discoveries and innovations that would bring hope to those receiving a breast cancer diagnosis.
“Research has the power to bring an end to breast cancer—an end that is urgently needed around the world. Providing exceptional people with funding to pursue their most imaginative ideas, with the greatest potential impact, is at the heart of BCRF’s model,” said Dorraya El-Ashry, PhD, BCRF chief scientific officer. “We are proud to support the remarkable minds among Dana-Farber’s faculty who are working tirelessly on our shared mission of eradicating breast cancer.”
BCRF’s longstanding support of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute continued with grants totaling nearly $4 million in the last year to 17 of Dana-Farber’s talented investigators. Among these, a grant to Elizabeth Mittendorf, MD, PhD, co-director of the Breast Cancer Clinical Research Program and director of the Breast Immuno-Oncology Program, will support Neo-TRIBUTE (Translational Resource for Immuno-Biology to Understand Therapeutic Efficacy), a study seeking to better understand why patients who receive immunotherapy can experience vastly different responses and toxicities from this treatment. Immunotherapy, or treatment that spurs the body’s own immune system to mount a strong response against cancer cells, is now approved in combination with chemotherapy for patients with stage II or III triple-negative breast cancer prior to surgery. However, almost half of patients experience toxic side effects with this treatment—including symptoms that can be severe enough to result in discontinuation of treatment.
Through this investigation, Mittendorf will analyze the immune components of the tumor microenvironment and the immune cells circulating in the bloodstream to develop a clearer picture of factors that lead some patients to experience disease response and prolonged survival with immunotherapy while others experience toxicities. Mittendorf believes that gaining this understanding will be instrumental toward optimally matching patients to immunotherapy and, ultimately, enhancing all patients’ responses to this type of treatment.
In addition to Mittendorf, BCRF’s recent grants also support: Myles Brown, MD; Lewis Cantley, PhD; Alan D’Andrea, MD; Temidayo Fadelu, MD, MPH; Judy Garber, MD, MPH; Suzanne George, MD; William G. Kaelin, Jr., MD; Panagiotis Konstantinopoulos, MD, PhD; Jose Pablo Leone, MD; Nancy Lin, MD; Ursula Matulonis, MD; Ann Partridge, MD, MPH; Kornelia Polyak, MD, PhD; Meredith Regan, ScD; Adrienne Waks, MD; and Jean Zhao, PhD.
For more stories about the impact of philanthropy at Dana-Farber, please visit DanaFarberImpact.org.