Saving Lives Through Breast Cancer Trials

Kathryn at our recent Grants Award Ceremony

At age 32 I was face-to-face with a grizzly bear — a grizzly that a lot of us have faced before or are facing today. I was given the choice of an Uzi or pop gun. I chose Uzi – a clinical trial that I feel saved my life.  Today I am 46 years old, and a 14-year breast cancer survivor – the last nine years as a stage 4 metastatic breast cancer survivor.  A majority of my treatments included clinical trials over the years that have been funded by Komen.  Through its research and scientific programs, Susan G. Komen has provided funding for numerous clinical trials. In 2010 and 2011, Komen provided more than $54 million to 74 grants that supported 83 clinical trials in the U.S and around the globe. A consistent commitment over the last 30 years of $685 million to research.

Through clinical trials, Komen-funded researchers are able to integrate basic and clinical science through the discovery and translation of novel approaches to breast cancer care.  The goal is to answer critical questions and identify promising new strategies for detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer that will have an impact on patients within the decade.

I am sharing my story to be a myth buster – because maybe you might have the misunderstanding as I did about trials. I thought if I entered in a trial I would have to hope to be one of the “lucky” ones to receive the drugs…when actually I have been in trials testing new and combination therapies targeting my cancer cells and I have had amazing results.  Also, I didn’t realize that at my fingertips I would have access to all the open trials through an amazing website breastcancertrials.org where I am able to put in my zip code and my treatment history to see what trials I qualify for and where they are located – when in the past it was overwhelming to understand what was even available.

Komen Affiliates, like our Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Affiliate provide clinical trial support in their communities with grants that focus on increasing access to clinical trials.  These efforts are of particular importance in low income and minority populations, where clinical trial participation is low.

Fourteen years ago I had to blast the grizzly with an ozzy….today due to the amazing breakthroughs I, along with my team of doctors, use a sharpshooter – pinpointing my breast cancer.  I just completed a trial called TDM1 which kept my cancer at bay for over a year and allowed me to live the life I love.  While in treatment I met many women that are now in remission.  The treatment has amazing success stories and is scheduled to be released soon.  I feel I had a part of this release and I encourage you to join the success stories and find out more about clinical trials.

I believe in Komen’s Promise…to save lives and end breast cancer forever…by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all…and energizing science to find the cures.

– Kathryn Becker

For more information, please visit the Breast Cancer Registry breastcancerregistry.org and breastcancertrials.org

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New Research on Tamoxifen

In 2008, Susan G. Komen for the Cure awarded a Promise Grant to a group of researchers to further study tamoxifen and its correlation between hot flashes and the CYP2D6 gene. Researchers proved that differences in CYP2D6 did not predict who would or would not benefit from taking tamoxifen. They did this by analyzing the DNA of breast cancer tumors from women who had received tamoxifen. In addition, they proved that hot flashes did not correlate to differences in CYP2D6.

This research result is important because it will prevent women and their doctors from making a treatment decision based on erroneous information and also prevent doctors from ordering expensive, unnecessary tests. In addition, this research study highlights the importance of clinical trials and tissue banking. Breast cancer patients participated in a large treatment trial and agreed to let the researchers collect tissue from their breast cancer tumors. Without this, scientists would not have been able to analyze the tumors and compare their findings with treatment outcomes for these women. This kind of research needs to be supported because they will help realize the promise of personalized medicine. Read more on this here.

Tucker by Gaby Basora Fundraiser

Tucker girls showing off the beautiful designs!

We were thrilled when Tucker by Gaby Basora approached us to do a fundraiser to benefit our Affiliate! With spring in full bloom, Tucker brought a special selection of their line to a private sale at the beautiful Soho Beach House and donated 15% of the proceeds to Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale. The two-day event in March allowed shoppers to get a first look at blouses, dresses and bottoms. Tucker is worn by trendy celebrities such as Gwen Stefani, Freida Pinto, Rashida Jones and Busy Philipps. Check out these two great articles on Gaby Basora from Zappos Blog and Refinery29.

Our view from the Soho Beach House!