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Komen-funded research shows advancement in treating forms of breast cancer

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New Studies funded by Susan G Komen for the Cure show new understanding in breast cancer that could eventually lead to more effective treatments.

The study aims to map the genomes of cancers. The mapping could mean advancement in treating the more aggressive forms of breast cancer such as triple negative breast cancer and HER-2 positive breast cancers, which combined total about 40 percent of all breast cancer cases.   The study is part of the National Institutes of Health's Cancer Genome Atlas, and is published in Nature on Sunday.

"This work helps us understand the molecular underpinnings of breast cancer and advances Komen's goal of bringing personalized treatments to the table for aggressive and metastatic disease," said Chandini Portteus, vice president of Research, Evaluation and Scientific Programs for Komen. "Eventually, these findings could lead to better preventive and risk reduction factors for breast cancer as well."

The lead author of the study is Dr. Charles Perou, a professor of molecular oncology at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.   Komen granted $12,000 to Perou in 2011 to support his research. 

Also working with Perou is Dr. Matthew J.C. Ellis, of Washington University in St. Louis.  Ellis told USA Today that the study's results of breast cancer are the equivalent "of putting a man or woman on the moon."  Ellis is a Komen Scholar and a leader in genomic research.  He is currently working on late recurrence studies at Washington University through a Komen Promise Grant.

"Komen's overall goal is to help develop treatments that will save lives in the near future, and ultimately end this disease through scientifically solid preventive strategies," Portteus said. "Studies like these will lead to the right treatments at the right time for individuals, and help us better understand and resolve genetics and other issues that lead to breast cancer."

Komen is also funding reaearch into prevention, better screening methodologies and environmental factors in the disease. 

Komen has invested over $750 million since established in 1982.  It is the largest nonprofit funder of breast cancer research outside of the federal government.

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