October 31, 2022 – Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) renewed its financing of Eliza PortMD and Hannah ErieMD, PhD, to explore novel therapeutic approaches targeting aggressive triple-negative breast cancer.

The latest installment of $225,000 brings the total to nearly $2 million over the past nine years. It will fund research into the immune microenvironment of triple-negative breast cancer to identify new strategies to improve cancer-fighting immune responses for this aggressive breast cancer, which traditionally has few treatment options.

“We are delighted and grateful to receive this grant from the Foundation, which recognizes the expertise and commitment of both The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and on Dubin Breast Center in terms of developing new therapeutics for a diverse group of high-risk breast cancer patients,” said Dr. Port, chief of breast surgery for Mount Sinai Health System and director of the Dubin Breast Center at the Tisch Cancer Institute in Icahn Mount Sinai.

“This funding also recognizes our pioneering efforts to advance the field’s understanding of this disease, such as our breast cancer biorepository, an impressive bank of patient breast tumor tissue and blood samples, which enables us to make research breakthroughs.” said Dr. Port. “This grant, combined with our extensive resources and knowledge, provides us with invaluable support in identifying treatments that could have significant benefits for our patients and for millions of women around the world.”

Usually diagnosed in women under the age of 50, triple-negative breast cancer is a subtype of breast cancer that has an estimated prevalence of between 10-15 percent of all breast cancers. It can be particularly difficult to treat, partly because it is aggressive and therefore has a higher risk of recurrence, but also because the available treatment options are limited. Although immunotherapy is increasingly used in the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer, not all patients respond to or benefit from this approach. Thus, more research is needed among patients to understand how their immune system interacts with breast cancer cells and how it works to control the growth and spread of cancer both in the tumor itself and in other parts of the body.

“Our BCRF-funded studies will explore these interactions between breast cancer cells and the immune system, focusing specifically on cancer stem cells,” said Dr. Irie, associate professor of medicine (hematology and medical oncology) and oncology sciences at Dubin Breast Center. “Breast cancer stem cells are less likely to be eliminated by chemotherapy or immunotherapy, and our goal is to develop strategies that both kill triple-negative breast cancer stem cells and enhance antitumor immune responses.” We have identified several promising drug candidates that produce these effects in preclinical models of triple-negative breast cancer and are working to translate them into clinical practice so that we can achieve improved outcomes for our patients.”

Founded in 1993 by Evelyn H. Lauder, BCRF is the world’s largest private funder of breast cancer research. By investing in the best minds in science—those researching prevention, diagnosis, treatment, survival, and metastasis—and fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, BCRF is accelerating the field to find the answers that are urgently needed to end breast cancer.

For more information: https://www.bcrf.org/

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