University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

UCSF Researchers Awarded Breast Cancer Research Funding from Susan G. Komen

By Vicky Agnew | cancer.ucsf.edu | September 19, 2016

UCSF Researchers Awarded Breast Cancer Research Funding from Susan G. Komen

Three UCSF researchers have been awarded $680,000 in grants from Susan G. Komen to support projects in breast cancer research. The grants to UCSF were among a total of $32.7 million given to researchers in 23 states and seven countries for projects including research into metastatic disease, novel treatments for aggressive types of breast cancer, new technologies, and health equity.

The funds include nearly $1.7 million in new funding for research at four institutions in California, bringing Komen’s total research investment in California since 1982 to $76,891,459. The UCSF recipients are:

Komen Scholar Alan Ashworth, PhD, FRS, will receive $200,000 to continue his genomics research to identify biomarkers and develop drugs that target these new biomarkers to provide more-effective treatment options for breast cancer that will improve patient outcomes. 

"I thank Susan G. Komen for its unwavering support of cancer research and treatment at all levels,” said Alan Ashworth, president of Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Komen’s investment in research has contributed to significant advances in screening, detection, treatment and education for breast cancer. The cancer community, and more important, patients, are better for it.”

Komen Scholar Rena Pasick, DrPH, will receive $300,000 to implement a study aimed at connecting low-income African-American breast cancer patients with Comprehensive Cancer Centers for second medical opinions and access to high-quality care. Study researchers will consult with community leaders to identify patients, develop ways to deliver second opinions to these patients, and determine if the consultation service improves the quality of breast cancer treatment in this population.

“The excess burden of breast cancer mortality experienced by African American women is well documented, and a growing body of research points to differences in quality of treatment as a major determinant. Since only a small proportion of African American patients find their way to academic cancer centers where the likelihood of state-of-the-science care is greatest, this study seeks to extend the reach of an elite research and treatment institution to women at highest risk through second opinion consultations, and to assess the impact of this intervention on the treatment they receive,” said Pasick, professor of Medicine, and assistant director of Community Education and Outreach at Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. “I am grateful to Susan G. Komen for the Cure for the opportunity to explore this uncharted territory in the quest for actionable strategies to reduce cancer inequities.”

Gabriel Eades, PhD, will receive $180,000 to use a new technology called TRACER to understand the changes cancer cells undergo that result in drug resistance, with the goal of designing drugs that will slow this process and convert lethal, drug-resistant cancers to treatable cancers.

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.