Archive for February, 2014

Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Clinical Trial Calling for Participants

Posted By on February 28th, 2014 at 9:25 am | 161 comments.
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Drs. Edith Mitchell, Hallgeir Rui and their team of multidisciplinary researchers

An ongoing research program, led by Edith Mitchell, M.D., FACP, Clinical Professor of Medicine and Clinical Oncology at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson and Hallgeir Rui, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Cancer Biology, has initiated a new clinical trial at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University that offers a more customized and personalized approach to the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer. The trial, with lead investigators Drs. Tiffany Avery in the Department of Medical Oncology and Adam Berger in the Department of Surgery, offers treatment in the form of chemotherapy paired with a supplemental medication called a “Parp Inhibitor” and is designed to target the breast cancer cells to increase response to treatment and decrease the risk of recurrence. Researchers will conduct a randomized two-arm trial in 12-week cycles by administering different types of medicines in addition to chemotherapy.

Triple-negative breast cancer cells lack estrogen receptors and progesterone receptors, and do not have an excess of the HER2 protein on their surfaces. This type of breast cancer diagnosis is more prevalent in younger women and in African-American women. Triple-negative breast cancers tend to grow faster and more aggressively and spread to other parts of the body more quicker than most other types of breast cancer. Drs. Mitchell and Rui and their team of researchers are hoping to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of treatment for triple-negative breast cancer through this clinical trial.

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Dr. Edith Mitchell speaks with a patient at the Kimmel Cancer Center.

Clinical Trial Details:

An adaptive randomized Phase II Trial to determine pathologic complete response with the addition of carboplatin with and without veliparib to standard chemotherapy in the neoadjuvant treatment of triple-negative breast cancer
Study Design:  This is a randomized two-arm trial for the neoadjuvant treatment of triple breast cancer patients. The two arms for the trial are as follows:

1.    Paclitaxel and carboplatin (12 weekly cycles) with growth factor support followed by doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide (4 cycles every 3 weeks) with growth factor support.

2.    Veliparib + paclitaxel + carboplatin (12 weekly cycles) with growth factor support fol

lowed by doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide (4 cycles every 3 weeks) with growth factor support.

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Drs. Edith Mitchell, Adam Berger & Hallgeir Rui

The primary objective of the study is to compare the pathologic complete response in patients with triple negative breast cancer treated with paclitaxel and carboplatin or paclitaxel, carboplatin, and veliparib in addition to standard

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Dr. Tiffany Avery, a lead investigator in this clinical trial

chemotherapy  (adriamycin and cyclophosphamide).
Key Eligibility Criteria:
1. Histologically confirmed adenocarcinoma of the breast with the following markers: Estrogen receptor negative (<1%), progesterone receptor negative (<1%), and Her-2/neu negative (0, 1+ on IHC te

sting or 2+ and FISH ratio < 1.8) or adenocarcinoma identified as basal-like subtype on molecular profiling.
2.    Clinical stage IIA, IIB or stage IIIA, IIIB, or IIIC breast cancer with no prior treatment for this tumor.
3.   ECOG Performance Status of 0 or 1.

If you think you may be a potential candidate for this clinical study, please contact the study coordinator, Melisa Mordenti, at 215-955-8979.

Click on the video below for more details on this clinical trial.

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Focus Group Participants Needed!

Posted By on February 21st, 2014 at 12:17 pm | 57 comments.

PBCC-LOGO-for-webYOU can influence how information is presented to women who are diagnosed with breast cancer.

The PBCC has been invited to participate in a focus group.  We are looking for 10 volunteers to give their impressions of and opinions about a communication plan for a new cancer diagnostic test that can improve how chemotherapy drugs are dosed.  We would like input from breast cancer survivors; women who are newly diagnosed and undergoing breast cancer treatment; caregivers and advocates. The focus group will be held via webinar from the comfort of your home, on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 7 pm.  We expect it to last approximately one hour.  If you are interested in participating please click here to fill out a quick survey.

We need your feedback so that materials are created that are understandable to breast cancer patients and their families.  Please sign up today! If you have any questions please contact Jen Pensinger at jennifer@pabreastcancer.org.

Thank you in advance for your help!
Pat Halpin-Murphy
President & Founder

Funding the Fight: How You Can Help Researchers Find a Cure for Breast Cancer

Posted By on February 17th, 2014 at 8:57 am | 47 comments.

By Pat Halpin-Murphy, President & Founder

Pat HeadshotFor breast cancer survivors and our families, hope plays a crucial role in navigating the diagnosis and what comes next. Many of us wouldn’t be where we are today without the discoveries of breast cancer researchers working to provide that hope in labs across Pennsylvania. We look to them for new treatments and, ultimately, a cure.

That is why the PA Breast Cancer Coalition created Refunds for Breast Cancer Research. It allows Pennsylvania residents to donate all or part of their state income tax refunds directly to scientists within our state. The average donation is $8, and together we have raised more than $3 million to fund basic research that leads to breakthroughs of the future.

Many of you have asked, “What if I don’t receive a state income tax refund?” There’s still a chance for you to support Pennsylvania’s breast cancer researchers.

CLICK HERE to contribute to Refunds for Research.

PA Breast Cancer Survivor Dr. Nikki Shaffer shares her message on the importance of Refunds for Research below. Click on the video for her story.

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Breast Cancer and Cholesterol: What’s the Connection?

Posted By on February 17th, 2014 at 8:55 am | 63 comments.

cholesterol-screening-pic-for-webMany researchers thought there was no link between breast cancer and cholesterol but a new study published in the Breast Cancer Research Journal shows they may be connected.  Scientists at Johns Hopkins University looked at patients with high levels of HDL (“good’ cholesterol”).  Here’s what they found…

They found that those high levels can increase a patient’s chance of developing breast cancer cells.  The researchers also discovered that women who have high levels of HDL may have a greater risk of developing more aggressive types of breast cancer.

Researchers are now working on ways to block HDL receptors within the breast cancer cells in order to prevent the elevated risk.  Doctors recommend checking in with your primary care physician to ensure both “good” and “bad” cholesterol levels are in the normal range.

To read more on this study, click here: http://health.yahoo.net/experts/breastcancer/what-do-cholesterol-and-breast-cancer-have-do-one-another

Life’s Work Comes Full Circle for PA Breast Cancer Survivor

Posted By on February 17th, 2014 at 8:55 am | 85 comments.

Linda-Falco-for-PL-and-webLinda Falco, Montgomery County

I have worked for the Montgomery County Health Department (MCHD) for 21 years. For seventeen of those years, I worked with uninsured or underinsured women to make certain they were getting free mammograms. This was a very rewarding time for me, in which I met with women at area Montgomery County hospitals on the day of their scheduled appointment to offer support and teach breast self-exams.  I am now 62 years old. This year when I had my annual mammogram, the right breast showed some change.

There is a history of breast cancer in my family. My grandmother died from breast cancer and my mother, after being diagnosed as well, had a mastectomy and lived the remainder of her life cancer free. I was fully aware of what my plans would be… to start and continue the screening process early! So at this year’s screening, after having various pictures taken through a follow up ultrasound, I felt that something might be different this time.

I was called in to speak to the radiologist. I knew from experience with so many of the women I helped at MCHD, that this was probably not going to be good news. The radiologist confirmed my fears. She explained that because of the changes seen on the ultrasound, a biopsy would need to be performed. It took about a week to get the results of the biopsy (it felt like a lifetime).

The results were in. I had Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) which would require a mastectomy. The diagnosis hit me like a heavy weight. My mind was racing with so many questions: What does this mean?, Has it spread to my lymph nodes?, What kind of treatment do I need? How am I going to do this? Will I survive?

In April, 2013 my right breast was removed and I am currently in the process of having breast reconstruction. Today, I am living cancer-free and celebrating life. My friends, family and coworkers are the support system that gets me through this chapter in my life one day at a time. I share my story with you to show you the importance of early detection. My annual screening saved my life.

Need a Ride to Treatment? Angel Bus Program Offers Assistance

Posted By on February 17th, 2014 at 8:55 am | 149 comments.

Angel-Bus-logo-pic-for-webAngel Bus is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing FREE non-emergency, long-distance ground transportation to financially stressed ambulatory patients who are traveling for treatment.  A typical Angel Bus trip is 70 – 250 miles (one-way).  Exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis for cancer patients traveling daily for treatment.  Here’s how Angel Bus can help…

Angel Bus provides help with transportation in these ways:
Gas Cards are provided to help offset fuel cost for patients
-Gas cards from major companies are mailed to patients

Commercial ground transportation (Amtrak, Greyhound, etc.)
-Tickets to be picked up at Will Call.  With ample lead time, tickets can be mailed.

Volunteer drivers
– Angel Bus has a limited number of drivers throughout the continental US.

To be eligible, you must have:
-Scheduled medical appointment
-Clearance by physician to travel
-Verifiable financial need
All services provided by Angel Bus are free to clients. A Trip Request can also be completed online at http://www.angel-bus.org/request-form

Cheers to Pinktober in PA!

Posted By on February 17th, 2014 at 8:55 am | 77 comments.

Fine-Wine-and-Good-Spirits-pic-for-webWe’re raising a glass to Fine Wine and Good Spirits whose Pinktober wine campaign raised nearly $9,000 to support the programs and services offered at the PBCC.  In addition to the Pinktober contribution, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board / Fine Wine and Good Spirits raised breast cancer awareness throughout the state.  Here’s how…

During the month of October, Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board stores sold 8,964 cases of wine designated to raise money for the PBCC.   For each case sold, the PLCB then donated $1 of the proceeds toward our cause.  Thank you to the PLCB and Fine Wine and Good Spirits staff for coordinating this amazing promotion and for making a difference in the lives of many women in Pennsylvania!

Would you like to host a Grassroots Partner event or campaign in your community?  Contact our Community Outreach Director, Kristen Snoke, at Kristen@PABreastCancer.org or (717) 769-2301.