Michigan breast cancer researcher receives $600,000 grant from Susan G. Komen for genetics research


 Joni Avery
Susan G. Komen

Olivia Adams
Byrum & Fisk Communications

Funding is part of Susan G. Komen®’s national initiative to cut breast cancer mortality in half by 2026

LANSING – Komen Michigan (Komen MI) announced today Susan G. Komen® awarded the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit with more than $600,000 in new funding for breast cancer genetics research. This funding is part of Susan G. Komen®’s national announcement of $32.7 million in new breast cancer research grants for 2016.

“Komen MI is committed to reducing breast cancer mortality in Michigan and we are grateful for the continued support from Susan G. Komen into Michigan institutions like Henry Ford,” said Komen MI Executive Director Jennifer Jurgens. “Working together with our partners, we are tirelessly attacking this disease on all fronts through our community programs that help underserved and at-risk women find breast cancer early, survivor programs that reduce risks of breast cancer recurrence and research into cures.”

Komen Scholar Lisa A. Newman, M.D., director of the Breast Cancer Center at Henry Ford, will receive $604,500 to compare gene expression in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) patient samples to help determine if shared ancestry, population migration and reproductive patterns contribute to the development of specific subtypes of TNBC and better define TNBC subtypes in diverse populations.

“Triple negative breast cancer is an aggressive form of the disease that disproportionally affects African American women and young patients,” said Dr. Newman. “The Komen grant will allow us to continue to advance our knowledge of the biologic and genetic origins of triple negative breast cancer, moving us closer to better diagnosis and reducing mortality in Michigan and beyond.”

View Dr. Newman’s interview with Susan G. Komen® here.

The new funding supports Susan G. Komen®’s Big Bold Goal of reducing breast cancer mortality by 50 percent in the U.S. over the next decade. Recent research grants were awarded across 23 states and seven countries, spanning the entire continuum of breast cancer research, including research into metastatic disease, novel treatments for aggressive types of breast cancer, new technologies and health equity. Grants from Komen’s nearly $33 million 2016 research portfolio will focus on research that has the greatest potential to save lives, including:

  • 38 grants expanding knowledge of metastatic breast cancer and how to stop it;
  • 15 grants looking into novel treatments for aggressive types of breast cancer (specifically, triple negative, Luminal B and inflammatory breast cancer);
  • 21 grants advancing the ability to detect primary and recurrent breast cancer at its earliest stages; and
  • 12 grants identifying the causes of breast cancer disparities and testing ways to overcome barriers to care.

“For nearly 35 years our organization has been a leader in the fight to end breast cancer, changing how people think about, talk about and treat this disease. Now, with a sharpened focus on our organization’s new strategic direction, we are delighted to announce new research funding that will play a significant role in making our bold goal a reality,” said Komen President and CEO Judy Salerno, M.D., M.S.

“Not only will these grants accelerate our understanding of key areas in breast cancer research, but they include funding for early-career investigators. As federal research dollars become increasingly difficult to secure, these awards give promising young researchers an opportunity to establish their careers, and help ensure breakthrough breast cancer research continues for years to come,” Dr. Salerno added. “Their work is essential to achieving our vision of a world without breast cancer.”

These new funds bring Komen’s total research investment to more than $920 million since opening its doors in 1982, the largest of any nonprofit outside the U.S. government. In addition to research, Komen and its nationwide network of Affiliates serve women and men in thousands of communities. To date, more than $2 billion has been invested in community programs that provide education, screening and treatment support.

The money raised through Komen MI supports life-saving programs right here in Michigan’s local communities. Last year, Komen Michigan helped 85,000 women gain access to breast health education, screening, diagnostics, treatment support and survivor support. Since 1996, Komen MI has funded $12 million in community programs serving local women and men, while contributing nearly $4 million to Komen research.

Komen MI is an entity of Susan G. Komen®.


About Susan G. Komen®
Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization outside of the federal government, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Since its founding in 1982, Komen has funded more than $920 million in research and provided more than $2 billion in funding to screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs. Komen has worked in more than 60 countries worldwide. Komen was founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life. Visit komen.org or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at ww5.komen.org/social

About Komen Michigan
Komen Michigan is committed to saving lives and reducing breast cancer mortality in Michigan. Through targeted, culturally-relevant education programs, screenings, diagnostics, transportation, survivor support programs and events like Race for the Cure®, Komen Michigan has touched more than 85,000 lives in Michigan in 2015 alone. Over the last 20 years, Komen Michigan has funded $12 million in community breast health programs across 24 counties, filling the gap for much-needed services across the region. For more information, call 616-752-8262 or visit www.komenmichigan.org.