2015 Breast Cancer Research Funding


Indiana Researchers Receive $1,750,000 in Research Funding

INDIANAPOLIS – Sept. 22, 2015 – Susan G. Komen, the world’s largest nonprofit funder of breast cancer research, announced new grants to 124 researchers in 25 states and eight countries internationally, with about half of the grants targeted to early-career researchers squeezed by stagnation in federal research dollars.

The grants include $1,750,000 in new funding for research at Indiana University, bringing Komen’s total research investment in Indiana to $25,010,000 since 1982.

The 2015 research grants expand Komen’s ongoing commitment to funding early-career scientists, that is, recent graduates and those trying to establish independent research careers. This group has been especially hard hit by real-dollar declines of as much as 25 percent in federal research funding over the past decade.

“We committed two years ago to do all that we can to ensure that talented early-career investigators remain in the breast cancer research field, while continuing our support for established researchers,” said Komen President and CEO Judith A. Salerno, M.D., M.S. “We cannot afford to lose talented scientists to other fields for lack of funding.”

This year’s research slate brings Komen’s total research investment to more than $889 million since 1982, the largest of any nonprofit, and second only to the U.S. government.


Komen’s Investments in Indiana

Komen’s research program is funded in part by contributions from Komen’s nationwide network of Affiliates, which direct 25 percent of locally raised funds to Komen’s national research program. The remaining 75 percent of net funds are invested into community outreach programs that serve local women and men facing breast cancer.

“We are so proud to have the support of this community as we help our friends, coworkers and neighbors who are facing breast cancer, and work for continued progress against breast cancer through research,” said Natalie Sutton, Komen Central Indiana Executive Director.

Just this year, researchers at Indiana University will receive more than $1.75 million to investigate the biology of breast tissue and breast cancer cells, and study inflammation.

  • The Susan G. Komen Tissue Bank at Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, led by Anna Maria Storniolo, M.D., and the only repository in the world for normal breast tissue and matched serum, plasma and DNA, will receive $1.1 million to support the collection and study of normal breast tissue, accelerating research for the causes and prevention of breast cancer.
  • Chunyan He, Sc.D., B.A., will receive $450,000 to study changes due to different environmental exposures, to gene activity (epigenetics) in order to identify changes that indicate cancer will likely begin to develop. This research may identify environmental exposures and create the opportunity to develop effective therapies that can prevent the development of breast cancer.
  • Komen Scholar Theresa Guise, M.D., will receive $200,000 to test whether breast cancer-associated inflammation causes molecular changes in muscle, which result in muscle weakness and a reduced quality of life for women living with advanced breast cancer. Dr. Guise is looking for specific causes of muscle weakness due to inflammation and testing potential drugs that may alleviate the inflammation and lead to improved muscle strength, resulting in improved health and quality of life for breast cancer survivors.

“We are truly appreciative of Komen’s on-going support of the tissue bank,” Dr. Storniolo, executive director of the Komen Tissue Bank at the IU Simon Cancer Center, said. “The bank’s unique resources – healthy breast tissue samples — enable researchers, here at IU and beyond, to compare those tissues to cancerous tissues. The differences between the two are providing us with invaluable insights into the disease. We continue to better understand the disease and remain diligent at working to prevent it.”

Grants from Komen’s nearly $36 million research portfolio – including more than $17.6 million in grants awarded to early-career investigators – span the entire cancer continuum from prevention to treatments for aggressive and metastatic disease. These include:

  • 36 grants to improve understanding of metastatic breast cancer
  • 18 grants investigating how tumors develop drug resistance
  • 19 grants related to the study of triple negative breast cancer – one of the most aggressive forms of the disease
  • 15 grants working to identify and understand biological and socio-economic health inequities
  • 13 grants seeking to develop new and novel therapies

A full list of Komen’s 2015 research grants can be found here.*

In addition to funding breast cancer research, Komen has invested more than $1.95 billion into community health outreach and global programs that serve hundreds of thousands of women and men annually through breast cancer health and support programs that screen, educate and provide financial, medical and psychosocial assistance.

About Susan G. Komen® Central Indiana

Susan G. Komen® is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. In the fight to end breast cancer forever, Susan G. Komen Central Indiana in the locally led and empowered affiliate of Susan G. Komen. Through generous gifts of time, money and personal commitment, Susan G. Komen Central Indiana helps local women today with early detection and treatment navigation in 21 central Indiana counties. Komen helps women tomorrow by conducting research to make detection easier, care better and outcomes more successful. Visit komenindy.org or call 317-638-2873 to learn more. Connect with us on Facebook at facebook.com/komenindy and Twitter @KomenIndy.

*Contingent upon signed and executed contracts with Komen