Despite a 40% decline in breast cancer deaths and the fact that 3.8 million people have survived breast cancer—the largest group in history—still 40,000 people a year lose their battle, and nearly all from metastatic disease. Truly, no objective is more significant and far-reaching than understanding the mechanisms that allow cancer to spread from the primary site. The challenge remains: how to prevent, treat, and eliminate, metastasis, which has no cure.
The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is the largest private funder of metastatic research globally, devoting more than one-third of our annual research grants to support investigators focused on this exceptionally complex process.
Helping find the cure
Project in 2020
This year’s TFWA Care aid will go towards the Evelyn H. Lauder Founder’s Fund to enable researchers to understand why some breast cancers spread faster than others and why some respond to certain therapies while other do not. At the program’s center are major studies of the molecules that go awry in cancer cells to help us understand what makes the disease tick and how we can develop more effective treatments for the men and women affected.
The centerpiece of BCRF’s metastatic research program, the Evelyn H. Lauder Founder’s Fund, is the largest international, collaborative initiative of its kind devoted to the resolution of metastasis. Since 2013, our investigators have worked as teams across borders and across institutions to uncover the molecular underpinnings that drive the spread of cancer, with remarkable accomplishment:
- The groups have established the complex infrastructure necessary to collect, store, and analyze data throughout a patient’s journey with metastatic disease.
- Patient recruitment is nearly complete, with more than 1,200 patients across 15 countries enrolled in clinical trials, and rigorous analysis on hundreds of metastatic tumor samples has been conducted.
- Early learnings include the identification of new clinical categories of triple negative breast cancer and 14 potential new molecular targets for drug development to treat or prevent metastasis. These are the critical tools that will change the future of breast cancer.
The next phase of the Evelyn H. Lauder Founder’s Fund work will focus on deeper analysis of the data, aided by the most advanced technologies and ensure that this massive dataset is shared among BCRF investigators, and is made accessible to the broader scientific community. While this is a complex process to undertake, especially at this unprecedented scale, we know the value and impact of deep collaboration. The opportunity for discovery—and progress—is immense.