Duke investigators receive grants from Susan G. Komen for breast cancer research

Friday, August 2, 2013

Susan G. Komen announced $3.6 million in research funding would go to 10 programs at Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill. The grants are part of Komen's $42 million 2013 national research portfolio.

The 2013 North Carolina research grants will focus on novel therapeutics, the biology of breast cancer and patient outcomes. The following Medicine faculty received grants:

  • A $225,000 grant to Komen Scholar Neil Spector, MD, associate professor of medicine (Medical Oncology) and pharmacology & cancer biology, to build on previous research regarding the drug lapatinib, which has proven highly effective in treating epidermal growth factor receptor and HER2 breast cancers. Dr. Spector and team have identified molecular mechanisms that cause tumors to become resistant to lapatinib as well as identifying in advance those tumors that will become resistant to treatment. In addition, Dr. Spector and team will develop combinations of targeted therapeutic strategies to overcome or prevent this resistance from happening.
  • A $175,000 grant to Komen Scholar Gerard Blobe, MD, PhD, professor of medicine (Medical Oncology) and pharmacology & cancer biology, to measure the biophysical properties of breast cancer cells and utilize that information to predict how an individual’s breast cancer will behave, in order to enable more individualized treatment decisions.
  • $175,000 in funding to Komen Scholar Kimberly Blackwell, MD, professor of medicine (Medical Oncology), who will collaborate with Peking University in Beijing to obtain metastatic triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) tissue samples from women in China, track outcomes of these women and establish an internet-based clinical trials database to support current TNBC trials.