Environmental links to Breast Cancer tops focus of Susan G. Komen research funding for 2013

Chandini Portteus

Chandini Portteus

Susan G. Komen announced $4.5 million in research funding to more fully understand the role that environmental issues play in breast cancer development. The grants will be part of Komen’s $42 million 2013 research portfolio, which includes $750,000 in new funding to researchers at Vanderbilt University.

The new environmental grants will build on research that Komen has already funded to more fully understand the role of toxins and other environmental factors that may contribute to breast cancer.

Komen Chief Mission Officer Chandini Portteus said that the environmental grants are just one element in Komen’s more than $790 million research program—the largest breast cancer research investment of any nonprofit outside of the U.S. government.

“These environmental studies will add to our understanding of how breast cancer develops,” Portteus said. “At the same time, Komen will continue to fund research along the entire cancer spectrum from prevention, to better screening, more personalized treatments for metastatic disease, and ending disparities in outcomes for women of color and those without adequate access to healthcare.”

Patty Harman, executive director of the Komen Greater Nashville Affiliate said that since 1982, Komen has invested more than $10 million in research funding to Tennessee institutions. Susan G. Komen Affiliates in Tennessee have also funded more than $23.1 million to community health programs that provide screenings, education, financial aid and social and emotional support to women and families throughout the state.
“Up to 75% of the net funds we raise locally stay here to support our local community health and education programs. The other 25% helps fund Komen’s national research programs,” Harman said. “We’re thankful for our supporters who help us serve our communities here at home, while supporting our education and research institutions”.

A list of local public health programs funded by the Affiliate can be found at .
The 2013 Tennessee research grants at Vanderbilt will focus on novel therapeutics and treatment resistance.
The five environmental grants for 2013 include separate studies on the impact of radiation exposure on breast cancer development during screening and treatment; pollutants in areas where cancer rates are disproportionately high; the impact of air pollution on breast cancer development, and the role of synthetic chemicals called phthalates.

These grants include grants to Brigham and Women’s Medical Center in Boston; Duke University in Durham, N.C.; Emory University in Atlanta; and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. More details on these grants can be found at .

“In each of these grants, we are attempting to move beyond theories to establish a solid base of scientific evidence on the role of environmental exposures to breast cancer development,” said Portteus.
Komen has already invested nearly $14 million into 38 research grants studying environmental and lifestyle factors that may affect breast cancer risk such as chemical substances, diet, weight, exercise and alcohol use.

“Our research and community health outreach would not be possible without the generosity of our partners and donors in communities, and we are so grateful for those who understand and support this vital work for all people facing breast cancer,” Portteus said.