Susan G. Komen’s 2015 Breast Cancer Research Funding Targets Early-Cancer Investigators, New Therapies, Health Inequities and Metastatic Disease

Susan G. Komen’s 2015 Breast Cancer Research Funding Targets Early-Cancer Investigators, New Therapies, Health Inequities and Metastatic Disease

Media Contacts:

Andrea Rader
Susan G. Komen

Ashley Pearson
Susan G. Komen Michigan

Michigan Researchers Receive $400,000 in Research Funding

DALLAS – Sept. 30, 2015 – Susan G. Komen, the world’s largest nonprofit funder of breast cancer research, announced new grants to 124 researchers in 25 states and 8 countries, with about half of the grants targeted to early-career researchers squeezed by stagnation in federal research dollars.

The grants include $400,000 in new funding for research at the University of Michigan, bringing Komen’s total research investment in Michigan to $25,940,000 since 1982.

The 2015 research grants expand Komen’s ongoing commitment to funding early-career scientists, that is, recent graduates and those trying to establish independent research careers. This group has been especially hard hit by real-dollar declines of as much as 25 percent in federal research funding over the past decade.

“We committed two years ago to do all that we can to ensure that talented early-career investigators remain in the breast cancer research field, while continuing our support for established researchers,” said Komen President and CEO Judith A. Salerno, M.D., M.S. “We cannot afford to lose talented scientists to other fields for lack of funding.”

This year’s research slate brings Komen’s total research investment to more than $889 million since 1982, the largest of any nonprofit, and second only to the U.S. government.

Grants from Komen’s nearly $36 million research portfolio – including more than $17.6 million in grants awarded to early-career investigators – span the entire cancer continuum from prevention to treatments for aggressive and metastatic disease. These include:

  • 36 grants to improve understanding of metastatic breast cancer
  • 18 grants investigating how tumors develop drug resistance
  • 19 grants related to the study of triple negative breast cancer – one of the most aggressive forms of the disease
  • 15 grants working to identify and understand biological and socio-economic health inequities
  • 13 grants seeking to develop new and novel therapies

Komen’s Investments in Michigan

Komen’s research program is funded in part by contributions from Komen’s nationwide network of Affiliates, which direct 25 percent of locally raised funds to Komen’s national research program. The remaining 75 percent of net funds are invested into community outreach programs that serve local women and men facing breast cancer.

Since inception, the now-merged affiliates of Susan G. Komen Mid-Michigan, Southwest Michigan and West Michigan have funded over $9.4 million to community programs serving local men and women, while contributing over $3.1 million to Komen research.

“We are so proud to have the support of this community as we help our friends, coworkers and neighbors who are facing breast cancer, and work for continued progress against breast cancer through research,” said Jennifer Jurgens, Executive Director of Komen Michigan and breast cancer survivor.  “Until there is a cure, Komen Michigan will continue to invest in education, screening and diagnostics to help local men and women find breast cancer early – because finding it early increases survival rates.  You’ll also see us investing more into survivor programs to help avoid recurrence. We exist here in Michigan to cover any gaps in breast health services and remain the payer of last resort for many patients.”

At the University of Michigan, researchers will receive $400,000 to lead research in precision medicine.

  • Komen Scholar Daniel Hayes, M.D., will receive $200,000 to use “liquid biopsies” to evaluate the circulating tumor cells in a patients’ blood stream, and inform treatment decisions about targeted therapies. Dr. Hayes and team will also refine their current prototype system for collecting the liquid biopsies, which is worn on the arm for several hours (compared to a single blood draw).
  • Komen Scholar Lori Pierce, MD., will receive $200,000 to investigate development of a tool, RadiotypeDx to predict the radiation sensitivity of each patient’s breast cancer. Dr. Pierce and team will also evaluate hundreds of radiotherapy drugs to identify potential therapeutic strategies which may overcome radiation resistance, selecting the top therapeutic strategies for further study in laboratory models of breast cancer.

A full list of Komen’s 2015 research grants can be found here.*

In addition to funding breast cancer research, Komen has invested more than $1.95 billion into community health outreach and global programs that serve hundreds of thousands of women and men annually through breast cancer health and support programs that screen, educate and provide financial, medical and psychosocial assistance.

For more information about Komen’s mission investment, please visit


About Susan G. Komen®

Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, 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 $889 million in research and provided $1.95 billion in funding to screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs serving millions of people in more than 30 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 or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at

Susan G. Komen Michigan

Komen Michigan is an independent, local non-profit organization that is dedicated to combating breast cancer. Seventy- five percent of the organization’s net proceeds go towards programs and funding grants to local hospitals and community organizations that provide breast health education, screenings, diagnostics and survivorship programs for underserved men and women in Michigan. The organization supports three distinct service areas:

  • West Michigan: Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon, Newaygo and Montcalm counties.
  • Southwest Michigan: Allegan, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, and Van Buren counties.
  • Mid-Michigan: Clinton, Eaton, Ingham, Jackson, Livingston, Shiawassee and Washtenaw counties.

The remaining 25 percent of net proceeds funds global, leading-edge research focused on the prevention of, and cures for, breast cancer. Komen Michigan’s mission is to save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality of care for all, and energizing science to find the cures. For more information call 616-752-8262 or visit

*Contingent upon signed and executed contracts with Komen