Navigate Up
UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
For Journalists
Manager
Telephone: 412-623-4701 or 412-586-9773
Manager
Telephone: 412-647-9966
Other Inquiries

Breast Cancer Research Foundation Continues Support of Pitt Investigators with New Funding for Personalized Medicine Research

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 18, 2013 – In the last five years, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) has provided research support for scientists at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) and Magee-Womens Research Institute (MWRI) with nearly $2 million in funding for breast cancer research with the potential for clinical application. That support continues this year with $720,000 provided to three researchers investigating ways to improve treatment and survival outcomes for women with breast cancer.
 
Nancy E. Davidson, M.D., director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and UPMC CancerCenter; Adrian V. Lee, Ph.D., director of the Women’s Cancer Research Center (WCRC), a collaboration between UPCI and MWRI; and Steffi Oesterreich, Ph.D., director of education at WCRC, have each received $240,000 from the foundation this year. The awards are part of $45 million in grants to breast cancer researchers announced at the BCRF 2013 Symposium and Awards Luncheon in October.
 
Dr. Davidson’s laboratory will use the funds to continue studying the role of epigenetic changes in breast cancer development and therapy.
 
“We know that breast cancer results from an accumulation of genetic and epigenetic changes in the cancer cell. Because epigenetic changes alter gene activity but not the genes themselves, they potentially could be reversed. We are evaluating ways to counteract these changes as a new way to treat breast cancer,” said Dr. Davidson, a recipient of BCRF funding for 15 years.
 
The goal of Dr. Lee’s laboratory is to improve the prediction of breast cancer prognosis and its response to treatment. His first award from BCRF will support research investigating the differences found within breast cancers.
 
“We’ve known for some time that there are different types of breast cancers,” said Dr. Lee. “Now we are trying to understand how differences within the breast cancer tumor operate. One tumor can have an area of aggressive disease and an area of benign disease. We need to determine the importance of the aggressive disease. Understanding the differences within breast cancer tumors will help us refine personalized treatment approaches for breast cancer patients.”
 
This is the third consecutive year Dr. Oesterreich has received an award from BCRF supporting her research investigating invasive lobular carcinomas (ILC), which represent 30,000 cases of breast cancer each year.
 
“The study of ILC-related breast cancer currently is underfunded, so the support I receive from BCRF is particularly important,” said Dr. Oesterreich. “Currently, patients with this type of breast cancer receive the same type of treatment as patients with other subtypes of the disease, but some patients with ILC don’t respond as well to endocrine therapy. We hope improved understanding of the disease will lead to better, targeted treatment for patients.”
 
In addition to the grants awarded this year, the BCRF provided the initial funding for the Women’s Cancer Research Center.
“Without the support of the BCRF, our breast cancer research wouldn’t be nearly as robust as it is,” said Dr. Davidson. “We share the vision of a future free of breast cancer, and this funding will bring us one step closer to that goal.”

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com