October 17, 2008

The Northeast Ohio Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure Funds Promising Research Project to the Cleveland Clinic

Determined to fast track research into help for breast cancer patients who can't wait, Susan G. Komen for the Cure(R) is distributing an unprecedented $100 million in grants to American and international scientists this year alone, the organization announced in unveiling its 2008 grants portfolio.

Komen Northeast Ohio locally granted $500,000 to the Cleveland Clinic thanks to a generous bequest received in 2006 from the Joan Viona Korecky fund

The grant will fund research into immunotherapy for breast cancer, which involves harvesting, treating and then re-administering a patient's own healthy T cells to fight the disease. The first phase of the project will test a new purification method to isolate rare T cells from blood which have the ability to attack breast cancer cells. The second phase of the research involves amplifying the total number of these rare T cells by one million-fold in the laboratory so that large numbers of healthy T cells are available to put back into patients to fight breast cancer. The goal of this research is to develop immunotherapy as a new form of breast cancer treatment.

"We've made significant advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer in recent years," said Li-Xin Wang, M.D., Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute and primary investigator for the new grant. "We've only seen the tip of the iceberg in our research using immunotherapy for breast cancer patients, and this grant will allow us to continue this important pursuit for a more effective treatment, and ultimately, to find a cure."

Producing results for patients

It is the largest commitment of breast cancer research funding by a single nonprofit organization, targeted to 81 universities and hospitals in 27 states and five countries. These grants represent research with the highest likelihood of producing results for patients during the next decade.

"There's a tremendous urgency to translate what we're learning in the lab into treatments for patients, particularly patients with very aggressive cancers who don't have years to wait," said Dr. Eric P. Winer, Chief Scientific Advisor to Susan G. Komen for the Cure and director of the Breast Oncology Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

"The grants we are funding focus on safely and effectively bringing treatments to cancer patients in a more timely way than we have been able to in the past," Winer added.

"We've revamped Komen's research program, challenging the best minds to solve the most difficult issues in breast cancer," said Hala Moddelmog, president and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. "These grants are geared to results - finding cures, tailoring treatments and resolving the issues that have stymied the search for a breast cancer cure."

About Susan G. Komen for the Cure Northeast Ohio Affiliate

Since 1994, the Komen Northeast Ohio Affiliate has raised over $13 million to provide funding and support to Northeast Ohio agencies working to create a world without breast cancer. The agencies provide mammograms and screening, breast cancer education and ongoing support to women, men, their families and friends. Up to seventy-five percent of the money raised locally funds programs in Northeast Ohio, and the remaining 25 percent helps fund the Susan G. Komen for the Cure National Research Grant Program. Our vision is to create a world without breast cancer.

During the past 25 years, Komen for the Cure has raised and distributed $1.2 billion for research and community health programs. And Komen is pledging to invest another $2 billion during the next 10 years.