Susan G. Komen Announces 2015 Research Funding for Texas






Texas Researchers Receive $2,394,277 in Research Funding


DALLAS – Sept. 22, 2015 – Susan G. Komen, the world’s largest nonprofit funder of breast cancer research, announced new grants to 124 researchers in 25 states and 15 countries, with about half of the grants targeted to early-career researchers squeezed by stagnation in federal research dollars.


The grants include $2,394,277 in new funding for research at four institutions in Texas, bringing Komen’s total research investment in Texas to $94,344,277 since 1982.


The 2015 research grants expand Komen’s ongoing commitment to funding early-career scientists, that is, recent graduates and those trying to establish independent research careers. This group has been especially hard hit by real-dollar declines of as much as 25 percent in federal research funding over the past decade.


“We committed two years ago to do all that we can to ensure that talented early-career investigators remain in the breast cancer research field, while continuing our support for established researchers,” said Komen President and CEO Judith A. Salerno, M.D., M.S. “We cannot afford to lose talented scientists to other fields for lack of funding.”


This year’s research slate brings Komen’s total research investment to more than $889 million since 1982, the largest of any nonprofit, and second only to the U.S. government.


Grants from Komen’s nearly $36 million research portfolio – including more than $17.6 million in grants awarded to early-career investigators – span the entire cancer continuum from prevention to treatments for aggressive and metastatic disease. These include:


-               36 grants to improve understanding of metastatic breast cancer

-               18 grants investigating how tumors develop drug resistance

-               19 grants related to the study of triple negative breast cancer – one of the most aggressive forms of the disease

-               15 grants working to identify and understand biological and socio-economic health inequities

-               13 grants seeking to develop new and novel therapies


Komen’s Investments in Texas


Komen’s research program is funded in part by contributions from Komen’s nationwide network of Affiliates, which direct 25 percent of locally raised funds to Komen’s national research program. The remaining 75 percent of net funds are invested into community outreach programs that serve local women and men facing breast cancer.


Since 1990, Komen Houston has funded $36.3 million to community programs serving local women and men, while contributing $13.2 million to Komen research.


“We are so proud to have the support of this community as we help our friends, coworkers and neighbors who are facing breast cancer, and work for continued progress against breast cancer through research,” said Adriana M. Higgins, Ed.D., Executive Director of Komen Houston.


In Texas, more than $2.4 million will be invested into breast cancer research programs, including support for researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, UT M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and others.

Baylor College of Medicine

  • Komen Scholar Jeffrey Rosen, Ph.D., will receive $400,000 to test novel targeted therapies for the treatment of triple negative breast cancer (TNBC).
  • Xian Wang, Ph.D., will receive $180,000 to test the potential of a novel targeted therapy, which targets nemo like kinase, to treat endocrine-resistant breast cancers. His work will also identify potential biomarkers to predict response to therapy.
  • Yuanzhang Fang, Ph.D., will receive $180,000 to determine whether drugs that target interleukin-1 can stop the growth of cancer stem cells in triple negative breast cancer. He will also validate a new marker that can be used to more easily isolate cancer stem cells.
  • Komen Scholar Bert O’Malley, M.D., will receive $62,500 to better understand the roles of TRAF4 and ERK3 in driving breast cancer progression, cell migration and invasion, and therapy resistance.


UT M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

  • Komen Scholar Sharon Giordano, M.D., will receive $600,000 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 Powel Brown, M.D., Ph.D., will receive $225,000 to identify the role of a group of enzymes known as phosphatases in the development and progression of ER-negative breast cancer. Findings could potentially provide the basis for the development of targeted treatments for patients with ER-negative breast cancer.
  • Komen Scholar V. Craig Jordan, Ph.D., D.Sc., will receive $200,000 to investigate the molecular process of estrogen-induced apoptosis (cell self-destruction) in order to develop novel treatment options for breast cancer following the failure of other anti-hormone therapies.
  • Komen Scholar W. Fraser Symmans, M.D., will receive $200,000 to conduct a clinical trial to test the reliability and feasibility of a genetic test. In previous trials, the test has been shown to predict whether a person with newly diagnosed breast cancer would receive greater survival benefit from neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy and/or adjuvant endocrine therapy.
  • Komen Scholar Gordon Mills, M.D., Ph.D., will receive $62,500 to continue research on drug resistance in Her2-positive breast cancer and test combinations of targeted drugs (Iressa, Lapatinib, Neratinib) in order to combat treatment resistance.


Also in Texas

  • Komen Scientific Advisory Board Member Amelie Ramirez, Dr. P.H. at UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, will receive $225,000 to study whether an anti-inflammatory diet may reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence.
  • Komen will also invest in the upcoming ASCO Breast Cancer Symposium, funding the Advocates in Science (AIS) Program, which offers AIS members the opportunity to learn more about breast cancer research and treatment, and interact with scientists and clinicians that are working to incorporate the latest science into clinical practice.


A full list of Komen’s 2015 research grants can be found here.*

In addition to funding breast cancer research, Komen has invested more than $1.95 billion into community health outreach and global programs that serve hundreds of thousands of women and men annually through breast cancer health and support programs that screen, educate and provide financial, medical and psychosocial assistance.

For more information about Komen’s mission investment, please visit


About Susan G. Komen®

Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Since its founding in 1982, Komen has funded more than $889 million in research and provided $1.95 billion in funding to screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs serving millions of people in more than 30 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. Visit or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at


*Contingent upon signed and executed contracts with Komen

Andrea Rader

Susan G. Komen



Author: Allison Huseman
Phone: (713) 225-0880