Guest post by Myra Biblowit, President & CEO of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation
The latest data released in 2012 showed that nearly 1.7 million women around the globe were diagnosed and incidence rates are on the rise. It is the leading cause of cancer death in the world’s poorest countries. If we do not put a stop to this epidemic, 13 million people will lose their lives to breast cancer in the next 25 years.
That prognosis, however, does not have to become our reality. At the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, we know how to bring an end to cancer. The answer: Research.
It is because of research that we have learned more about breast cancer in the past two decades than in the last 500 years. Thanks to the tireless efforts of physicians and scientists, we have learned that breast cancer is not just one but many diseases, we have advanced our understanding of the inherited risk of breast cancer and developed precision medicine and individualized therapies to put an end to one-size-fits-all treatment.
When BCRF was founded just over 20 years ago, a breast cancer diagnosis inspired fear and little hope. Scientific understanding of the nature of the disease and how it moved through the body was still nascent. Investigations on prevention strategies were fledgling, screening methods were limited and treatment options were few.
Since 1993, BCRF has raised $575 million in critical funding for cancer research worldwide to fuel advances in tumor biology, genetics, prevention, treatment, metastasis and survivorship. This year, BCRF is the largest private funder of breast cancer research in the world. Every hour of research we fund improves outcomes and saves lives.
We have made research our mission because investing in research produces real results. BCRF funded researchers have been deeply involved with every major breakthrough in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship. Deaths from breast cancer have dropped 30 percent over the last 20 years. If diagnosed early, a breast cancer diagnosis has a 90 percent survival rate vs. the 65 percent survival rates in the 1970s. That is real progress.
Research is revolutionizing our understanding of cancer, answering questions critically important to patients and transforming lives every days as women and men get the help they need. The breakthroughs that have been achieved from breast cancer research are also helping to inform other cancers including ovarian, cervical, and melanoma. Today, with science and technology working hand in hand, we are closer to prevention and cure than ever before.
A world free of cancer is possible. Research is the key to making that hope a reality. Partnering with the Nature Publishing Group is a critical step towards further elevating BCRF’s scientific leadership in cancer research.
Collaboration is Key
At the Foundation, we have underscored the critical tenet of collaboration in research for over two decades—across institutions and disciplines. We support 240 scientists on five continents working around the clock on solving one of the world’s greatest health problems. The launch of our open access journal, npj Breast Cancer, in partnership with Nature Publishing Group in June 2015 is a great step towards fostering and further expanding this model of knowledge sharing. The research published in this journal is free to access immediately upon publication, and can be easily shared, meaning that it is accessible to clinicians and patients as well as researchers.
This October, BCRF will host two key research symposia connecting scientists from around the world. The Symposia, in New York and Boston, will highlight progress made in breast cancer research while addressing topics that are top of mind in the field.
On October 29, more than 180 researchers will gather 1,000 guests at the New York Symposium and Awards Luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria titled “Progress in Killing Drug-Resistant Cancer Cells.” Panelist Dr. Joan Brugge of Harvard Medical School will be honored with the Jill Rose Award for her distinguished work to advance understanding of the molecular and cellular biology of breast cancer. Dr. Suzanne Fuqua of Baylor College of Medicine and Dr. Vered Stearns of Johns Hopkins will also serve on the panel moderated by BCRF Scientific Director Dr. Larry Norton and BCRF Scientific Advisory Chairman Dr. Clifford Hudis—both of whom also serve at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and as the Editors-in-Chief of npj Breast Cancer.
On October 23, the Boston Research Symposium and Luncheon held in memory of noted breast surgeon Dr. Carolyn Kaelin, will gather more than 300 guests. The discussion, titled “Understanding Women’s Risk for Breast Cancer and Other Cancers,” will feature panelists Dr. Judy Garber of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Dr. Nadine Tung of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, moderated by Chairman of BCRF’s Scientific Advisory Board Dr. Clifford Hudis.
Before our scientists take the stage for these public events, they will take part in a scientific meeting, a tradition that’s been in place since 2003. Conceived by Scientific Director Dr. Larry Norton, the conference presents the opportunity to explore important topics in breast cancer research, with a program carefully chosen by BCRF’s Scientific Advisory Board. This year’s meeting, held at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, will feature a series of presentations and lively discussion from BCRF-supported experts on the prevailing challenges of drug resistance and strategies to improve outcomes through novel combination therapies and precision medicine. These scientific meetings have historically inspired new collaborations and scientific discourse that accelerate discovery, and we are confident that the outcomes of this year’s meeting will be no different in taking us to our ultimate goal of better prevention and treatment of breast cancer.
Join us. Help fuel the research of today needed to save lives tomorrow. Visit bcrfcure.org.
Visit the npj Breast Cancer website to find out more.
The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) is committed to being the end of breast cancer by advancing the world’s most promising research. Founded by Evelyn H. Lauder in 1993, BCRF-funded investigators have been deeply involved in every major breakthrough in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship. In 2015, BCRF will award $48.5 million to support 240 researchers at leading medical institutions internationally, making it one of the largest non-governmental funders of breast cancer research in the world. By investing 91 cents of every dollar directly in its mission, BCRF remains one of the nation’s most fiscally responsible nonprofits. BCRF is the only breast cancer organization with an “A+” from CharityWatch, together with Charity Navigator’s highest rating of four stars 13 times since 2002. Visit www.bcrfcure.org to learn more.