Susan G. Komen awards $1.7 million in grants to Maryland researchers

Susan G. Komen, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, said Tuesday it has given $1.7 million in grants to four Maryland researchers to study treatments for the most aggressive forms of breast cancer.

The funding was part of $30.7 million the organization gave to researchers across the country.

The recipients of the funds are:

Daniele Gilkes, a Johns Hopkins Medicine assistant professor of oncology, will receive $450,000 to determine if the tumor cells that are deprived of oxygen might have an advantage that makes them more likely to spread. She will use the research to try and figure out why certain breast cancer cells survive and spread without oxygen.

Dr. Ben Ho Park, a Johns Hopkins Medicine professor of oncology, will receive $600,000 to design a treatment to target abnormal proteins only found in cancer cells, that result from a mutation in a specific gene called SF3B1.

Anne Rositch, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, will receive nearly $450,000 to work to improve breast cancer outcomes in Tanzania, where the 5-year breast cancer survival rate is only 50 percent.

Dr. Antonio Wolff, a Johns Hopkins Medicine professor of oncology, will receive $200,000 to run a pilot clinical trial aimed at improving communications between patients, caregivers and doctors in an outpatient setting. He hopes to see if improving communication leads to better management of the patient’s care and improve the patient’s quality of life.

Komen has invested $40.5 million in research money in Maryland since 1982.

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