HARRISBURG, Pa. – The PA Breast Cancer Coalition (PBCC) gave an additional $100,000 research grant to Dr. Craig Meyers and his team at Penn State College of Medicine today. The announcement came at the 2011 PA Breast Cancer Coalition Conference held at the Hilton Harrisburg attended by over 1,000 people. This grant marks the single-largest research contribution made by the PBCC in its 18-year history and it follows a 2007 PBCC Pennsylvania Income Tax Refund for Research grant of $35,000 to Dr. Meyers.
Through this PBCC funded research, Dr. Meyers discovered that adeno-associated virus type 2 (AAV2) kills breast cancer cells in every stage in the laboratory in tissue culture dishes. AAV2 is a nondisease-causing virus that kills human breast cancer cells and often infects humans. Preliminary research using AAV2 to treat breast cancer cells in a mouse model has also yielded promising results but needs further study.
“I’ve been working with this significant nondisease-causing virus that kills human breast cancer cells in the laboratory because we know that breast cancer has a complex structure and differing types,” said Dr. Craig Meyers, professor of microbiology and immunology at Penn State College of Medicine.
Referring to these exciting new findings as, “what, for decades, the medical community has worked towards and the rest of the world has been waiting for,” Pat Halpin-Murphy, president and founder of the PBCC said that her pioneering organization is thrilled to be part of Dr. Meyers’discovery of a virus that kills all stages and all types of breast cancer cells in the laboratory.
“Breast cancer survivors, their families, and all girls and women and those that care for them look forward to the final phase of this research–clinical trials with humans. While that final step may still be years away, it gives us hope that we will discover a cure so our daughters and granddaughters won’t have to. Dr. Meyers’ break-through is a real-world example that research is our best weapon in battling breast cancer,” added Halpin-Murphy.
Halpin-Murphy went on to say that “each day, 32 women in Pennsylvania are diagnosed with breast cancer and over 2,000 die every year from the devastating disease.”
“We are extremely grateful to the Coalition for their generous support of Dr. Meyers’ research,” said Richard J. Courtney, Ph.D., chair, Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Penn State College of Medicine. “The recent findings of his research group are very exciting; however, much additional research remains to be done. This grant will be instrumental in helping Dr. Meyers and his colleagues to further advance this highly promising breast cancer research ongoing within his laboratory.”
The PBCC established and oversees the Refunds for Breast Cancer Research program, which uses donations from Pennsylvanians to fund vital research grants across the state. State residents may contribute all or part of their state income tax refund to the Refunds for Research program to help find a cure. To date, Pennsylvanians have donated over $2.8 million with the average donation from taxpayers being $8. Thanks to the PBCC’s program, nearly 70 research grants have been awarded to outstanding Pennsylvania scientists.
The PBCC represents, supports and serves breast cancer survivors and their families in Pennsylvania through educational programming, legislative advocacy and breast cancer research grants. The PBCC is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure now…so our daughters and granddaughters won’t have to. For more information, visit www.PABreastCancer.org or call 800-377-8828.
Media Contact: Kevin Smith, 717-903-8783