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University of Alabama scientists try to uncover the role of a gene that may trigger breast cancer metasis

$600,000 Grant Part of $66 Million Grants and Programs Investment


BIRMINGHAM, AL. – DATE, 2011 –  University of Alabama scientists will try to determine whether a gene involved in several other cancers also plays a role in the growth and spread of breast cancer, with research funding announced today by Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.

The $600,000 grant to UAB ispart of Komen for the Cure’s $66 million investment in new research, patient support and scientific conferences in 2011.Komen has spent more than $610 million for breast cancer research in its 29 years, making it the largest non-profit funder of breast cancer research outside of the federal government.

“Our research investments are geared to bringing results to the table – and soon – for the most difficult questions remaining in breast cancer,” said Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker, founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

UAB scientists, led by Andra Frost, M.D., will try to determine if an oncogene (a gene that has the potential to cause cancer) called Gli1, known to help drive the progression of colon, pancreas, skin and prostate cancers, may also be responsible for the spread of breast cancer.

“This grant may guide our understanding of how and why cancers spread, and lead to more effective treatment strategies,” said Komen President Elizabeth Thompson. “This ties squarely to our mission to fund cutting-edge breast cancer research along the entire cancer continuum – from prevention to early diagnostics, disparities in outcomes, more effective treatments, and answers for aggressive and metastatic disease.”

 The national grants announced today augment local 2011 Community Grant funding totaling $630,000 from Komen’s North Central Alabama Affiliate. Seventy-five percent of funds raised by Komen Affiliates stay in the community for screening, treatment, education and support programs; the rest helps fund national research programs.

 “The projects we’re investing in today are critical to the momentum we’ve built during the last 30 years in our quest to understand, and ultimately solve, the many questions surrounding breast cancer,” said Eric Winer, M.D., Komen’s chief scientific advisor, chief of the Division of Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Professor of Medicine at Harvard University.

*All grants and awards are contingent upon receipt of a fully executed agreement.