The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, a
pioneer in the funding of research for breast cancer, announced at
its 1998 National Grant Conference that the Joseph Drown Foundation
has awarded the Komen Foundation a matching grant of $500,000 for the
establishment of a new competitive grant category, Breast Cancer
Imaging Technology. Imaging technology researchers will now be given
the opportunity and priority needed to potentially save lives.
Until researchers find the cause and ultimately the cure for
breast cancer, early detection and proper treatment are the best
defense against the disease, said Norman C. Obrow, president of
the Joseph Drown Foundation. The foundation, based in Los Angeles,
was formed in 1953 to provide an organized means for its founder,
Joseph Warford Drown, to make charitable gifts during his lifetime
and to have the foundation continue making grants upon his death.
Although mammography is an important tool in the diagnosis of
breast disease, the advances that are now possible in screening and
diagnostic imaging are exciting, Obrow said. We are proud
to provide the Komen Foundation the opportunity to fund the
development of these new technologies.
Although mammography is the standard for breast cancer screening, it
is a method that has not yet been perfected. Experts estimate that
approximately 10% of cancers are missed by mammography.
In the late 1980s, most companies and institutions thought that
imaging of the breast with MRI was a waste of resources. Komen
believed in our research and funded the first successful development
of MRI technology for detection of breast cancer, said Steven
Harms, md, current Komen grant recipient and professor and chief of
VA Radiology at the Arkansas Cancer Research Center, University of Arkansas.
Areas of Research to Be Funded
Through this gift from the Drown Foundation, the Komen Foundation
will be able to fund additional research conducted in, but not
limited to, the following areas of screening and diagnostic imaging:
digital mammography using telemedicine, magnetic resonance imaging
(MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), and ultrasound. The grant
funding, which will be matched by the Komen Foundation, will provide
the foundation with the means necessary to continue funding
innovative new programs.
More than a decade ago, at a time when no other organization
was funding research specifically for breast cancer, the Komen
Foundation had the foresight to recognize that funding for this
research was paramount to the survival of the women who suffer from
the disease, said Susan Braun, president and chief executive
officer of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Through
its support, the Drown Foundation has enabled the Komen Foundation to
become a leader in funding important new technologies and to make
further strides in the pursuit of our missioneradicating breast
cancer as a life-threatening disease.
The foundation will offer to researchers grants of up to $200,000
over a 2-year period for breast cancer imaging technology studies. It
will be open to all not-for-profit and educational institutions and
organizations in the United States and abroad. Research projects will
be selected for funding through the Komen Foundations blinded,
peer-review process, which is recognized by the National Cancer
Institute as exemplary.
1998 National Grant Conference
The announcement of the Breast Cancer Imaging Technology grant
category came at the Komen Foundations 1998 National Grant
Conference, which brought together current Komen grant recipients and
experts in the field of breast cancer to present their latest
research and outreach projects.
Each year, the Komen National Grants Conference presents a unique
opportunity for researchers to come out of the lab and
hear from the patients, survivors, and doctors who face this disease
every day. This years conference featured 51 presentations from
Komen grant recipients representing 15 states and 3 countries, as
well as 40 different institutions and organizations.
Designed by breast cancer advocates, the grant conference
brings together all of those fighting the disease and provides a
forum for discussion and sharing of ideas, said Elda Railey,
director of grants for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
The presentations are given in easy-to-understand, lay terms so
that those who support the research and those who will eventually be
affected by the research can truly appreciate the work that is being done.
Other presenters at the conference included: Gil Friedel, MD, Markey
Cancer Center, University of Kentucky, Lexington; M. Anne Blackwood,
MD, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Anna H. Wu, PhD,
University of Southern California, Los Angeles; and Patricia A.Ganz,
MD, University of California at Los Angeles.