Susan G. Komen®’s 2015 Breast Cancer Research Funding Taregets Early-Career Investigators, New Therapies, Health Inequities And Metastatic Disease

Tennessee Researchers Receive $580,000 in Research Funding

DALLAS – Sept. 22, 2015 – Susan G. Komen, the world’s largest nonprofit funder of breast cancer research, announced new grants to 124 researchers in 25 states and eight countries internationally, with about half of the grants targeted to early-career researchers squeezed by stagnation in federal research dollars.

The grants include $580,000 in new funding for research at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, bringing Komen’s total research investment in Tennessee to $13,010,000 since 1982.

The 2015 research grants expand Komen’s ongoing commitment to funding early-career scientists, that is, recent graduates and those trying to establish independent research careers. This group has been especially hard hit by real-dollar declines of as much as 25 percent in federal research funding over the past decade.

“We committed two years ago to do all that we can to ensure that talented early-career investigators remain in the breast cancer research field, while continuing our support for established researchers,” said Komen President and CEO Judith A. Salerno, M.D., M.S. “We cannot afford to lose talented scientists to other fields for lack of funding.”

This year’s research slate brings Komen’s total research investment to more than $889 million since 1982, the largest of any nonprofit, and second only to the U.S. government.

Grants from Komen’s nearly $36 million research portfolio – including more than $17.6 million in grants awarded to early-career investigators – span the entire cancer continuum from prevention to treatments for aggressive and metastatic disease. These include:

– 36 grants to improve understanding of metastatic breast cancer
– 18 grants investigating how tumors develop drug resistance
– 19 grants related to the study of triple negative breast cancer – one of the most aggressive forms of the disease
– 15 grants working to identify and understand biological and socio-economic health inequities
– 13 grants seeking to develop new and novel therapies

Komen’s Investments in Tennessee

Komen’s research program is funded in part by contributions from Komen’s nationwide network of Affiliates, which direct 25 percent of locally raised funds to Komen’s national research program. The remaining 75 percent of net funds are invested into community outreach programs that serve local women and men facing breast cancer.

Since 1997, Komen Knoxville has funded $6.6 million to community programs serving local women and men, while contributing $2.3 million to Komen research.

“We are so proud to have the support of this community as we help our friends, coworkers and neighbors who are facing breast cancer, and work for continued progress against breast cancer through research,” said Amy Dunaway, Executive Director.

In Tennessee, Vanderbilt University scientists will receive $580,000 to study triple negative breast cancer (TBNC) and breast cancer therapies.

Komen Scholar Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., will receive $400,000 to lead a clinical trial for patients with metastatic TNBC to evaluate the efficacy of cisplatin, a DNA damaging agent, and GDC-0032, a drug that inhibits the P13K pathway and stimulates tumor growth. The trial will develop a set of genetic biomarkers to predict sensitivity or resistance to these therapies.

• Valerie Jansen, M.D., Ph.D., will receive $180,000 to identify novel therapeutic strategies capable of preventing and reversing drug resistance to CDK4/6 inhibitors, which is a promising new drugs used for the treatment of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers.

A full list of Komen’s 2015 research grants can be found here.*

In addition to funding breast cancer research, Komen has invested more than $1.95 billion into community health outreach and global programs that serve hundreds of thousands of women and men annually through breast cancer health and support programs that screen, educate and provide financial, medical and psychosocial assistance.

For more information about Komen’s mission investment, please visit

About Susan G. Komen®
Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Since its founding in 1982, Komen has funded more than $889 million in research and provided $1.95 billion in funding to screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs serving millions of people in more than 30 countries worldwide. Komen was founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life. Visit or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at

*Contingent upon signed and executed contracts with Komen