Some of the best and brightest minds in breast cancer research are working right here in our state. Without funding for their projects, our scientists cannot move forward. That’s where the PBCC’s Research Grants Initiative comes in. In 2018, we are proud to award $200,000 to the following breast cancer researchers:
David Cormode, PhD
Associate Professor of Biology
Perelman School of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania
Sean Knecht, PhD
School of Engineering, Technology and Professional Programs
Penn State University
Steffi Oesterreich, PhD
Professor & Vice Chair
Precision and Translational Pharmacology
Magee-Womens Research Institute at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Wendie Berg, PhD, MD, FACR
Professor of Radiology
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Magee-Womens Hospital of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Our 2018 research grant recipients are studying better detection for breast cancer, genetics and breast density. The PA Breast Cancer Coalition remains focused on supporting scientists working to find the cause of and cure for breast cancer. Want to bring us closer to that cure? Donate your state income tax refund to the PBCC on Line 32 and every penny will support Pennsylvania breast cancer researchers!
Previous PBCC Research Award winner Dr. Susan Domchek co-led study
It’s a breakthrough for advanced breast cancer patients with BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week approved its first treatment for advanced breast cancer caused by the inherited mutations. The drug, Lynparza (olaparib tablets), was previously approved to treat advanced ovarian cancer caused by mutations of BRCA1 or BRCA2.
University of Pennsylvania researcher and previous PBCC Research Award winner Dr. Susan Domchek co-led the study that led to the drug’s approval for breast cancer. Dr. Domchek calls the drug’s approval a significant advance for those women with triple-negative breast cancer and a BRCA mutation.
Did you know? Medicare covers post-mastectomy or lumpectomy bras. Doctors may order FREE bras (up to $30 each) for breast cancer survivors who have had a mastectomy or lumpectomy and are covered under Medicare. Medicare covers the first $30 of each bra and the woman is responsible for any costs above that amount. Survivors who have had reconstructive surgery are also eligible for free bras. More information to come in future PBCC publications!
Taking a Bite Out of Cancer, the Lancaster City Police K-9 and Mounted Units held a special fundraiser for the PA Breast Cancer Coalition in October 2017. Officers sold pink t-shirts in honor of breast cancer awareness month, with a portion of proceeds benefiting the PBCC’s life-saving work throughout the state. The first annual campaign was a doggone success, with a total of $562 going to our programs and services for breast cancer survivors in PA! The PBCC staff was thrilled when the K-9 unit stopped by our office to deliver the donation with dogs in tow! Thank you to Officers Alexander, Reppert, Hatfield and Bradley for bringing K-9s Axel, Stryker, Zoltan and Wodan to our headquarters in Lebanon for this presentation, and to Sargent Michael Gerace for spearheading this unique campaign! The PBCC is honored to be the recipients of this meaningful gift.
Patients with metastatic breast cancer have a new FDA-approved treatment option. Federal regulators approved the drug, Verzenio, which blocks enzymes that promote the growth of cancer cells for women with HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer. This new drug is targeted specifically for survivors who have not responded to hormone therapy.
To read the complete article, click here.
Mary Jo Borrelli, Snyder County
After a family celebration in August 2000 at Shenandoah National Park, I needed antibiotics for insect bites. I thought I had an inflamed insect bite under one arm and went to my doctor who said let’s do a mammogram. It turned out that I had a tumor on the outside of the left breast. I opted for sentinel node biopsy, lumpectomy, and pre-adjuvant therapy with andriamycin.
I’ve been dutifully getting mammograms and this past year was in survivor mode. My sister has an ascending aortic aneurism and I thought I should pay attention and have tests for that. The radiologist found something on my spine. After almost 17 years, breast cancer has come to my spine. I’m now in the METAMORPH study at Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania. The study examines markers in blood, bone marrow, and tumor tissue to understand and track the changes that occur as disease progresses.
I first learned about the PBCC when some newly diagnosed friends were going to the October conference. They had a real hunger to learn more about breast cancer. Without the PBCC, many women would not know the treatment options available to them. I worked for the Department of Public Welfare for my whole career and I know how difficult it is for women to access information and care, and to advocate for themselves.
When I retired from the state, I became a disaster reservist for the U.S. Small Business Administration. I was able to help businesses and homeowners recover from disasters like Hurricane Sandy. It’s a great experience, helping people and seeing so much of our beautiful country while doing it. I’m on a very regular treatment schedule now, which will be once a month starting in August, and my medical team is optimistic I’ll soon be able to return to that disaster reservist work! Meanwhile, I enjoy my beautiful garden around my house, and my two little Maltese dogs who were rescues.
Having a child after breast cancer treatment does not make you more likely to have a recurrence, researchers say. According to a recent study presented at the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Conference. Researchers profiled more than 1,200 women under the age of 50 who were diagnosed with non-metastatic breast cancer before 2008. More than 300 of the women who participated became pregnant following treatment. The research team then matched each patient who became pregnant with three patients who had similar cancer characteristics, but did not become pregnant. After 10 years from the diagnosis, the research team found no difference in recurrence rate between women who became pregnant and those who did not.
Many survivors with ER-positive cancer are concerned with the need to stop post-surgery hormone therapy before they try to get pregnant (therapy that helps to prevent recurrence). Researchers recommend patients speak with their doctors when determining how long to wait before becoming pregnant if they receive hormone therapy.
Want to learn more? Read the complete study, click here.