National Breast Cancer Coalition

Call to Action Online - November 2013

Let's Talk About Ending Breast Cancer


Breast Cancer Awareness Month has come and gone, and with it came a change in the conversation. While the press coverage this year included articles about local runs and survivor stories and reminders to get mammograms, there was a noticeable focus on research to prevent breast cancer. NBCC President Fran Visco was featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today, Ladies Home Journal, Delaware Online, and the New York Times Retro Report—all talking about the need for a new approach to breast cancer.

The shift in conversation was not confined to the media. In the public policy realm, Congresswoman Shelley Capito delivered a speech from the house floor imploring her colleagues to support the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act.

Several advocates got in front of the camera, insisting their followers toss aside “awareness,” “comfort,” and “good enough” and giving examples of the actions they have taken to achieve Breast Cancer Deadline 2020®. Others posted photos of themselves taken at the 2013 Advocate Leadership Summit, declaring their support for Breast Cancer Deadline 2020®. You can take action right now and register to join some of these dedicated advocates at the 2014 Advocate Leadership Summit.

 On the radio waves during October, NBCC advocate Lori Seawel talked about Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® on KXEL 1540 in Waterloo, Iowa. Laura Nikolaides, director of research and quality care programs for NBCC, joined a panel discussion on WFAE, Charlotte North Carolina’s NPR news source, about the inadequacies of superficial awareness campaigns.

In social media, Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® advocates were encouraged to make #BCD2020 a trending topic on Twitter. We made it easy to share information about Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® by providing breast cancer facts and figures in the form of images and videos

And the conversation among the scientists is shifting as well. At a recent event of the medical faculty and staff at a major medical institution, Fran Visco asked why she—a patient advocate—was invited to speak about NBCC and its work, when the usual choice would be to invite a doctor or a researcher. Visco was told the medical community is well aware of Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® and not only do they talk about it, the deadline informs their work and they wanted to hear from NBCC what advocates want from the research community.

This month, as much of the country turns its focus away from breast cancer, NBCC will continue to work to achieve the Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® goal of knowing how to end breast cancer by January 1, 2020. On November 13, advocates and staff will deliver the petitions to the president.


We Need to Prevent Breast Cancer to End It

Artemis Project® for a Preventive Vaccine Gains Attention and Momentum


This October, just like every other month of the year, NBCC was taking action to prevent breast cancer. NBCC launched a RocketHub crowdfunding campaign for the Artemis Project® for a Preventive Breast Cancer Vaccine and released an Artemis Project® video to spread the word. The media took notice, and the preventive vaccine was discussed in detail in the Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today and Ladies Home Journal.

Through the generous support of the National Philanthropic Trust (NPT), NBCC also awarded a grant to Dr. Gregory Hannon, Professor and HHMI Investigator at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Dr. H. Kim Lyerly, George Barth Gellar Professor of Cancer Research, Duke University School of Medicine. Drs. Hannon and Lyerly will collaborate on efforts to evaluate the biology of human ductal carcimona in situ (DCIS) through sequencing (RNAseq). DCIS is not cancer, yet it is treated as such. Many women with DCIS receive toxic therapy that will not help them, but will cause harm. Addressing the issue of DCIS is part of NBCC's Artemis Project®.

 These investigators will use next-generation sequencing to generate profiles from single (DCIS) lesions and will carry out laboratory tests to evaluate signaling and immune responses. Further, the investigators plan to determine whether differences among DCIS lesions relate to different subtypes of invasive breast cancer. Another goal of the research is to analyze the healthy tissue surrounding DCIS lesions, to gain a better understanding of how disease progresses from DCIS to invasive cancer.

This $325,000 grant is part of NBCC’s Artemis Project® for a Preventive Breast Cancer Vaccine, which brings together a collaborative group of advocates and scientists to take a strategic, systematic yet broad approach to the development of a breast cancer vaccine within five years.

Earlier grants have been awarded to Dr. Paul Spellman and Dr. Joe Gray of Oregon Health and Science University to identify possible vaccine targets using existing and developing human genomic data within different breast cancer subtypes. Another seed grant was awarded to Dr. Paul Ewald, Professor of Biology and Director, Program on Disease Evolution at the University of Louisville and Dr. Vladimir Belyi, Assistant Professor at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School to look for associations between breast cancer and an extensive library of pathogens within genomic datasets from breast tumor samples.

“I’m grateful to both the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) and the National Philanthropic Trust (NPT) for their generosity,” said Dr. Hannon. “With this grant, we plan to generate gene expression profiles from single DCIS lesions and assay them for oncogenic signaling and adaptive immune responses to ultimately deliver large-scale transcriptome datasets and RNAseq libraries pertaining to DCIS tissues and surrounding stroma—and analyses of those datasets and libraries, that will describe the molecular events that occur in DCIS.”

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Duke investigators to leverage their previous experience, to take advantage of the known clinical events associated with the DCIS samples collected at Duke, and to work collaboratively with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories on what we hope will ultimately become a catalytic factor in the development of a preventive breast cancer vaccine,” said Dr. Lyerly. “We are extremely grateful to both NPT and NBCC for providing this generous award.”

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Duke investigators to leverage their previous experience, to take advantage of the known clinical events associated with the DCIS samples collected at Duke, and to work collaboratively with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories on what we hope will ultimately become a catalytic factor in the development of a preventive breast cancer vaccine,” said Dr. Lyerly. “We are extremely grateful to both NPT and NBCC for providing this generous award.”

“This award will allow the researchers to look for vaccine targets in DCIS samples, build on the work of previous grantees and bring us closer to the day when we know how to prevent invasive breast cancer and stop harming women,” said NBCC President Fran Visco.

Advocates continue to be an integral part of all aspects of the project, keeping the focus on the end result of safe, and reliable, breast cancer prevention for all women.

“This is the kind of approach and exploration we believe will help us get closer to achieving the goal of Breast Cancer Deadline 2020®,” said NBCC President Fran Visco. “As we were with our first two awards of the Artemis Project® grants, we are grateful for the generous support we have received from the National Philanthropic Trust to help move this very important research forward.”

"I am proud that NPT is part of this important work and hopeful that this research will help push us closer to finding a preventive vaccine for breast cancer by 2020," said NPT President and CEO, Eileen Heisman.

NBCC has set a deadline—Breast Cancer Deadline 2020®—for knowing how to end breast cancer by January 1, 2020. Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® is a strategic plan of action that focuses on primary prevention, stopping women from getting breast cancer, and understanding and preventing metastasis (the spread of cancer), which is responsible for 90 percent of breast cancer deaths.

The National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) was formed in 1991 with one mission: to end breast cancer. NBCC has accomplished much over its 20 plus years: bringing about unprecedented research funding to the worldwide scientific community, forging new collaborations to design research and set priorities, expanding access to information and care to under served women, and launching unparalleled training programs to prepare advocates around the globe to work side by side with scientists, policy makers and health care providers.

Yet breast cancer continues to take lives. In 2013, more than 425,000 women worldwide will die of breast cancer. In the United States alone, 39,620 women and 410 men will die of breast cancer. To renew the sense of urgency to its mission and refocus global efforts on ending breast cancer and saving lives, the National Breast Cancer Coalition set a deadline and launched Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® to know how to end breast cancer by January 1, 2020. What does ending breast cancer mean? By January 1, 2020, we must understand how to prevent people from getting breast cancer in the first place and how to prevent them from dying from the disease.

Come to 2014 Advocate Leadership Summit

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Become a Sponsor or Purchase Tickets for NBCC's 18th Annual NY Gala

NBCC's 18th Annual New York Gala, honoring Robbie Meyers and Silvia Formenti, MD is Thursday, November 21, 2013. Become a sponsor or purchase tickets today.
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Join the Health of Women Study

The Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation is asking all breast cancer survivors to participate in a study about collateral damage (side effects) from treatment. Please visit QuestiontheCure.org to participate. Additionally, we invite you to join an international online study for breast cancer. The information collected will be used to help decipher the causes of breast cancer—and how to prevent it.
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