Metastatic breast cancer (also known as stage IV or advanced stage cancer) is the spread of breast cancer to other parts of the body — most commonly to the bones, liver, lungs and/or brain. Approximately 30% of breast cancer patients metastasize, with the mean survival after diagnosis being 33 months. In the U.S., only 2-5% of all cancer research funds are dedicated to metastatic breast cancer research – yet 98% of all breast cancer deaths are caused by a metastasis.
“We continue to be in awe of our supporters, even though the pandemic has caused many challenges, they have continued to help METAvivor fund vital research for metastatic breast cancer. This round of research funding is exceptional and we are thrilled to announce winners in our special Health Disparities in Metastatic Breast Cancer category as well as our Early Career, Advisors and Translational Research awards,” said Jamil Rivers, President of Metavivor’s Board of Directors.
Metavivor is awarding grants in three award categories: The Early Career Investigator Award program is focused on funding grants for early career metastatic breast cancer researchers, The Translational Research Grant and Advisor’s awards program are targeted at career metastasis researchers with total awards of up to $250,000 per grant and our special category for Health Disparities in Metastatic Breast Cancer is a $100,000 research award that focuses on the unraveling the specific challenges in metastatic breast cancer in black people.
The 26 grants that METAvivor is funding, bring the grand total of metastatic breast cancer-specific research awards to $22,050,000. “It is our hope that these vital research grants will translate to new treatments and therapies that will one day, end death from metastatic breast cancer,” said Rivers.
The METAvivor 2021 Grant recipients:
METAvivor Early Career Investigator Awards
Presented by the Moore/Smith Family in memory of Carol Smith, wife, mother, friend and advocate – Vadim Jucaud, PhD, Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation, Los Angeles, CA – “Microengineered approach to develop personalized monoclonal antibodies for metastatic breast cancer treatment”
Presented in Memory of Catherine Hill – Jennifer Rosenbluth, MD, PhD University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA – “Developing therapeutic strategies for metastatic inflammatory breast cancer using patient-derived organoids”
Presented in memory of Noel Shubert Weaver, who passed away of triple negative metastatic breast cancer – Amy Schade, PhD, Brigham & Women’s Hospital Boston, MA – “Developing effective combination therapies for metastatic TNBC by co-targeting epigenetic and oncogenic enzymes”
In Memory of Susan Marr Williamson, Luis Solorio, PhD, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN – “Effect of Motion in the Metastatic Microenvironment”
The Geaton & JoAnn DeCesaris Family Foundation Grant in memory of Kimberly Stafford -Evanthia Roussos Torres, MD, PhD, University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center Los Angeles, CA – “Bi-directional translation of differences in the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment of primary versus metastatic HER2+ breast cancer”
METAvivor Advisors Award
Presented by NWA Metsquerade in Memory of Lisa Quinn and In Honor of Kelli Davis – Jill Bargonetti, PhD, City University of New York (CUNY) at Hunter College, New York, NY – “Targeting Metastatic Breast Cancer Through the Mutant p53-PARP Axis”
METAvivor Health Disparities in MBC Research Award
Presented in Memory of Chawnte’ Randall – Yara Abdou, MD, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC – “Investigating Survivin as a novel target for immunotherapy in Black women with breast cancer”
Presented by #LightUpMBC Ambassador team in Memory of Gail Weisbrot – Rachel Freedman, MD, MPH, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA – “LIFT UP-Optimizing Care and Support for Women with Metastatic Breast Cancer Who Need it Most”
Presented by METAvivor Facebook Fundraisers in honor of all people living with MBC – Melanie Hayden Gephart, MD, MAS, Stanford University, Redwood City, CA – “Identification of Race-Specific Tumor-Immune Interactions in Breast-to-Brain Metastases of Black Women”
Presented by METAvivor Fundraisers in honor of all people living with MBC – Isidore Rigoustos, PhD, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA – “Short RNAs Promote Metastases in an Ancestry-dependent Manner”
Presented by METAvivor Facebook Fundraisers in honor of all people living with MBC – Pranela Rameshwar, PhD, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ – “Towards precise treatment for metastatic breast cancer in black patients“
Presented by Color Street Foundation – Dipali Sharma , MS, PhD, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD – “Racial Disparity in metastatic triple-negative breast cancer in African American women: Unraveling actionable molecular determinants”
Presented by METAvivor Facebook Fundraisers in honor of all people living with MBC – Jennifer Wenzel , PhD, MS, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, School of Medicine (Oncology), Baltimore, MD – “Metastatic Treatment Decision Navigation: A Community Health Worker Model to Support Black Breast Cancer Patients and Decision Partners”
METAvivor Translational Research Award
Presented by METAvivor Facebook Fundraisers in honor of all people living with MBC – Changyan Chen, PhD, Northeastern University, Boston, MA – “Targeting MGL for Developing Novel Strategy to Treat Refractory Breast Cancer”
Presented by METAvivor Facebook Fundraisers in honor of all people living with MBC – Jin Chen, PhD, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN – “Targeting EphA2 receptor in breast-to-bone metastasis”
Presented by Be Bold and Behold in Loving Memory of Honorees Jennie Byrum and Erica Griffiths -Melanie Hayden Gephart MD, MAS, Stanford University, Redwood City, CA – “Halting the Progression of Breast Cancer Brain Metastases By Targeting Tumor-Associated Microglia (TAMs)”
Presented by Minneapolis Metsquerade in Memory of Kim Cesarek – Efi Kokkotou MD, PhD, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA – “Development of a functional predictor assay of therapeutic responses in Metastatic Breast Cancer”
Presented by METAvivor Facebook Fundraisers – Davide Ruggero, PhD, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA – “ERα is a novel RNA-binding protein controlling a post-transcriptional program underlying breast cancer metastasis”
Presented In Memory of Erica Griffiths, Founder of Living with MBC DENJPA – Gangadhara Sareddy PhD, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX – “Targeting TNBC brain metastases using a brain penetrable KDM1A inhibitor”
Presented In Memory of Heather Holmes – Lalita Shevde-Samant, PhD, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL – “Altering the metastatic immune niche to eradicate established breast cancer metastases”
Presented by Abbey Rapoport – Robert Schneider, PhD, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY – “Inhibition of Regulatory T cell (Treg) selective mRNA translation for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer metastasis”
Presented by #LightUpMBC Ambassador team in memory of Jessica Moore – Nikhil Wagle, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA – “Convergent transcriptional states in resistant ER+ metastatic breast cancer”
METAvivor Research and Support Inc. is an Annapolis-based, volunteer-led, non-profit organization founded by metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients in 2009. The organization’s main focus is to fund critical research that will lead to advances in treatment options, quality of life and survival for patients diagnosed with MBC. Since 2009, METAvivor has awarded 161 research grants totaling $22,050,000. METAvivor is the only national organization with a peer-reviewed grant program aimed at exclusively funding MBC research, and 100% of all donations go to fund research.
METAvivor also raises awareness of MBC, provides support for people living with this disease, and offers opportunities for others to help make a difference for the metastatic community. METAvivor has gained a rapidly growing following within the breast cancer community, and has become a leader the metastatic breast cancer community.
Visit us at www.METAvivor.org, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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