A UW-Madison researcher has received a grant from the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the world’s leading breast-cancer organization.

Dr. Eui-Jun Kim, a post-doctoral researcher at UW Carbone Cancer Center and McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, will receive $185,000 for a study of triple-negative breast cancer.

The grant is one of 98, totaling $30.7 million, given throughout the world. This year’s focus is on new understanding of and treatment for the most lethal forms and stages of breast cancer.

Triple-negative breast cancer is a subtype of the disease in which the tumor does not express any of the three receptors that fuel breast-cancer growth. The lack of these receptors means that the most commonly used treatments are not effective against the tumor cells.

“Dr. Kim’s work will look at a molecular event that drives cancer cells to spread to other tissues in the body in triple-negative breast cancer,” said Dr. Wei Xu, in whose lab Dr. Kim works. “This area of research shows promise for designing new therapies for eradicating this devastating disease.”

“We are focused on new treatments, ways to overcome drug resistance in breast cancer patients, and a better understanding of how and why breast cancer spreads, so we can better treat metastatic breast cancer or prevent it all together,” said Ellen Willmott, interim president and CEO of Susan G. Komen. “This focus on aggressive and metastatic disease is the foundation of our Bold Goal to reduce breast cancer deaths by 50 percent by 2026.”
Komen’s 2017 portfolio includes:

  • 37 grants expanding knowledge of metastatic breast cancer and how to better treat or prevent it
  • 37 grants looking into novel treatments for aggressive types of breast cancer (specifically, triple- negative, inflammatory breast cancer, luminal B, and ER-positive recurrent breast cancer)
  • 59 grants focused on new therapies, including 10 for targeted therapies and 20 for drug development
  • 24 investigating drug resistance (why drugs stop working in some patients)
  • Nine on disparities in breast cancer outcomes and two involving Big Data