Komen Foundation Receives Grant to Develop New Breast Imaging Technology

January 1, 1999
Oncology, ONCOLOGY Vol 13 No 1, Volume 13, Issue 1

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

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 mission—eradicating 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 Foundation’s 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 Foundation’s 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 year’s 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.

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