Texas Researchers Receive $3,197,345 in Research Funding

DALLAS – Sept. 25, 2018 – Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, today announced an additional investment of nearly $26 million to fund 62 new research projects that seek to answer some of the toughest questions facing breast cancer. This new funding is part of the organization’s efforts to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths in the U.S. by 50 percent by 2026 and brings its total research investment to $988 million to date – the largest nonprofit investment outside the U.S. government.

The grants include $3,197,345 in new funding for research at five institutions in Texas, bringing Komen’s total research investment in Texas to $111,961,068 since 1982.

“This year, Komen is investing in a number of areas that will help us achieve our bold goal and save lives. We are seeking answers to why our current drugs work for some patients, but not all, or why they work at first, but later become ineffective.” said Komen Chief Scientific Advisor, George Sledge, M.D., Chief of Oncology at Stanford University Department of Medicine. “We are also looking into aggressive forms of the disease like triple negative and inflammatory breast cancer, which tend to have poorer outcomes. By investigating novel techniques and therapies, we hope to bring new treatment options to patients.”

The newly announced grants will investigate critical areas in breast cancer research, including (but not limited to) projects focused on one or more of the following:

  • Drug Resistance and Metastasis (40 grants, representing 70 percent of the grants awarded)
  • Triple Negative Breast Cancer (23 grants)
  • New Treatments (38 grants) such as Immunotherapies (9 grants)
  • Health Disparities (8 grants)

This year, Komen’s competitive grant program for young investigators was entirely focused on drug resistance and metastatic disease. “Komen continues its long-standing investment in the next generation of scientists, to ensure that brilliant researchers whose careers are just beginning have funding to pursue their novel ideas,” said Komen Chief Scientific Advisor, Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., Executive Vice President for Research and Director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “We are proud that this investment includes opportunities for 23 innovative and inspired researchers to lead the way in making breast cancer discoveries that will improve care for all and help save lives.”

“More than 41,000 women and men will lose their lives to breast cancer this year alone. I lost my mother to the disease a few years back, and I myself have been treated for aggressive triple negative breast cancer. The idea that it could impact my daughters is unacceptable,” said Komen President and CEO Paula Schneider. “We all have a personal reason or passion that we support the fight against breast cancer, and we’re proud to invite people to support the work that means the most to them. It will take all of us working together to save lives and ultimately end this disease.”

Komen’s Investments in Texas

Komen’s research program is funded in part by contributions from Komen’s nationwide Network of Affiliates, which directs a portion of funds raised locally to Komen’s national research program, while also investing in vital community programs that serve local women and men facing breast cancer.

Since 1990, Komen Houston has funded $36,080,243 to community programs serving local women and men, while contributing $13,649,861 to Komen research.

“We are so thankful for the friends, family and neighbors that fight alongside us, helping to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths in Texas, both on the ground and through research,” said Ginny Kirklin, Komen Houston’s Sr. Director of Community Programs and Partnerships.

In Texas, Komen is granting to the following researchers:

Joe Taube, Ph.D., from Baylor University,  will receive $450,000 to identify the changes that occur within breast cancer cells that allow them to travel throughout the body and form new tumors in other organs. Dr. Taube seeks to learn how cells change as they travel, but ultimately return to their original state to form a new tumor. A better understanding of this process should reveal new targets for preventing metastasis and improving patient outcomes.

Kevin Roarty, Ph.D., from Baylor College of Medicine, will receive $449,999 to investigate a new potential target for the treatment of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). Dr. Roarty will also identify how some TNBC subtypes are better at spreading (metastasizing) than others. The goal of this research is to identify new treatment options for patients diagnosed with this type of aggressive breast cancer.

Komen Scholar Amelie Ramirez, Dr.PH., the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, will receive $600,000 to develop and pilot-test a bilingual, culturally tailored, personalized, interactive mobile application, in combination with patient navigation, to promote and improve adherence to endocrine hormonal therapy among breast cancer patients. If successful, this intervention could reduce recurrence of ER-positive breast cancer.

Komen Scholar Sharon Giordano, M.D., from University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, will receive $600,000 to continue to evaluate the comparative toxicities of treatments for breast cancer as well as the financial cost of breast cancer treatment, and how that may impact treatment adherence.

Komen Scientific Advisory Board Member, Carlos L. Arteaga, M.D., from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center , will receive $600,000 to continue to investigate how ER+ breast cancers develop resistance to current antiestrogen therapies, like tamoxifen. Dr. Arteaga’s work will allow doctors to offer patients a more precise treatment plan, which could include a combination of therapies, to prevent drug-resistant breast cancer from developing or returning.

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center will receive $497,346 to develop a novel, online, easy-to-understand breast cancer decision support tool to help physicians and patients make shared decisions about adjuvant therapy. The tool will estimate the risk of breast cancer recurrence at 5 years and 10 years after diagnosis, overall survival, and the expected benefits of various adjuvant treatment modalities, providing important information that will inform treatment decisions.

Research has been a cornerstone of Komen’s work since opening its doors in 1982. Komen also works to inspire action through advocacy and public policy, to mobilize communities through support services and opportunities to make a local impact, and provide the care that patients need (including screening, diagnostics, treatment and navigation).

About Susan G. Komen®
Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit outside of the federal government while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Komen has set a Bold Goal to reduce the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the U.S. by 2026. Since its founding in 1982, Komen has funded more than $988 million in research and provided more than $2.2 billion in funding to screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs serving millions of people in more than 60 countries worldwide. Komen was founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life. That promise has become Komen’s promise to all people facing breast cancer. Visit or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at

Grants are contingent upon signed and executed contracts with Komen.