National Breast Cancer Coalition

Call to Action December 2018

Donate now to end breast cancer and your gift will be matched, up to $100,000, due to the generosity of the Joyce Goldman Matching Fund.

We will end breast cancer. With your help. That is actually NBCC’s mission:  to end breast cancer, not to simply raise awareness or paint breast cancer with a sheen of pink. So we ask you to remember the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) this holiday season. We take the big, but strategic, calculated, risks. We ask the bold, but necessary, questions. And we figure out how to answer them.

The coming year needs to be extraordinary for NBCC. We know for certain that our work and our approach to ending breast cancer must continue. As always, our focus is on answering the most important questions that will save lives, empowering women and men across the country and leading change in science and policy.

To end this disease, we need to take action every day through leadership, research and advocacy.  We provide opportunities to take action year round including donating to support our research through the Artemis Projectattending the annual Leadership Summit or joining the National Action Network to advocate for public policies that impact breast cancer. 

Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to learn about upcoming opportunities to get involved or to support NBCC!

The Cancer Letter - Guest Editorial by NBCC President Fran Visco

NBCC has always been outspoken about what is needed to end breast cancer.  Trained, educated advocates need to speak out about the problems that impede progress and they must figure out the solutions. They should be setting the research agenda, collaborating on research generation and conduct, and helping set rules to foster transparency and eliminate conflicts of interest which threaten further progress toward our mission of ending breast cancer. Read the full editorial here http://bit.ly/2ECc5s3.

Project LEAD® Institute: Now Accepting Applications With Rolling Admissions!

Applications are now open for the 2019 Project LEAD Institute! 

For more than 25 years, the Project LEAD Institute has been NBCC’s premier science training program, creating a revolution in the world of breast cancer research and public policy. The intensive, six-day program provides breast cancer advocates with the education and training they need to understand complex medical and scientific information, the nuances of research methodology, and the unique role advocates play in influencing the research agenda. 

NEW: This year, we are implementing a rolling admissions process. Notifications of acceptance will be made monthly, beginning in January 2019. This change to the application process will allow advocates more time to make arrangements and travel plans, ensuring more advocates are able to take part in this incredible training opportunity. 

For more information on the Project LEAD Institute and how to apply, visit our website.

Recent Project LEAD® Events

Over the last month, NBCC has hosted two important training events.

Project LEAD Advanced Topic Session at the 2018 San Antonio Cancer Symposium (12/4/2018)

On December 4th, over 75 advocates gathered in San Antonio for the 2019 Project LEAD Advanced Topic Session. This year’s program featured a presentation by Dr. Keith Knutson of the Mayo Clinic about his work on various breast cancer vaccine trials. He discussed what progress is being made both on a preventative vaccine, as well as vaccines that could potentially prevent recurrence of breast cancer. NBCC advocate Debbie Laxague provided further context with a presentation on the breast cancer vaccine landscape. Attendees then heard from Dr. Nicholas McAndrew of the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine on the science behind CDK 4/6 inhibitors and the current state of his research. NBCC president Fran Visco was joined by Advanced LEAD graduate Tracy Leduc to discuss the importance of advocate participation in clinical trials and NBCC’s Clinical Trials program. Members of the audience kept the discussion going throughout the program, asking thoughtful and informed questions. 

Many thanks to the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation for sponsoring the event and for helping us make the program such a success! 

LEAD Cast With Vinay Prasad (12/11/2018)

On December 11th, Dr. Vinay Prasad, Associate Professor of Medicine at Oregon Health and Science University, presented an exclusive webinar for Project LEAD graduates on surrogate endpoints in clinical trials. He stressed the importance of data-driven, evidence-based endpoints in order to ensure trials are producing the best information possible. His presentation was followed by a lively Q&A session with advocates.

If you would like to receive a recording of this webinar, or of the November webinar featuring Dr. Dennis Slamon on the science of CDK 4/6 inhibitors, please contact Skye Wilson at swilson@breastcancerdeadline2020.org.

2019 Summit Updates

Whether you are just starting your journey as a novice breast cancer advocate or have been in the trenches for decades, NBCC’s 2019 Advocate Leadership Summit is being designed to deliver the most relevant information you need to get up to speed on the current issues, develop your knowledge and skills, and to advance your advocacy work toward ending breast cancer. 

Visit NBCC’s Summit website to see how the preliminary agenda is shaping up, and the types of workshops and plenary sessions we have in store. 

Register today or set up a Deadline Champions fundraising page to support NBCC’s mission to end breast cancer, and earn benefits as you progress—such as free Summit registration and/or hotel stay!

Legislative Update

The 115th Congress is wrapping up over the next couple of weeks, and Members are working to either complete appropriations or pass another continuing resolution, to postpone finalizing the legislation until later this month or early next year.  NBCC applauds Congress’ continued bipartisan support of the DOD Breast Cancer Research Program which received $130 million for FY2019.  The Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act (HR 6114) has 95 cosponsors and NBCC advocates are working diligently over the remaining weeks of Congress to shore up support for next year. House leaders of the bill have already expressed interest in re-introducing this legislation in the new Congress, and we look forward to finding bipartisan leaders in the Senate to introduce the companion bill.

The members of the 116th Congress have been elected, and will be sworn in January 3rd when the new Congress convenes.  NBCC is looking forward to building new relationships with the freshman members, and continuing its relationships with returning members. 

A few points of interest: 116 women were elected to the new Congress (102 in the House and 14 in the Senate). 36 women are new to Congress (at least one of whom is a breast cancer survivor), and 6 women are poised to lead House Committees in the new term. At least two women could lead Senate Committees.  The Democrats in the House have elected their leadership with Rep. Nancy Pelosi at the helm. Rep. Pelosi has been a strong supporter of our legislative and public policy agenda for many years. Committee assignments and leadership roles in the House and Senate will not be finalized until January or February at which time we will have more information about which Members of Congress have jurisdiction over NBCC legislative priorities.  In the meantime, NBCC is already connecting with newly elected Representatives and Senators to begin building the relationships that are so important in accomplishing our legislative and public policy goals.  We look forward to many new opportunities in the 116th Congress.  

Making an Impact This Holiday Season

Through the generosity of our supporters, the National Breast Cancer Coalition is able to invest in our mission to end breast cancer. Below are some easy ways you can make a direct impact on our work toward that mission:

It’s easy to become a member of NBCC’s President’s Council! A gift of $1,000 or more entitles you to membership in this group with special benefits. Members receive regular communications directly from NBCC’s President on current breast cancer issues, recognition in publications, and invitations to special events. Your investment in NBCC will make an even greater impact this year end.  Thanks to the generosity of the Joyce and Irving Goldman Family Foundation, the Joyce Goldman Matching Fund will match every contribution received by December 31st – up to $100,000.

Recurring donations are the backbone of NBCC’s work. These donations allow NBCC to plan strategic public policy initiatives and innovative research projects all with a goal of ending breast cancer.

Did you know that the National Breast Cancer Coalition accepts gifts of stock? A gift of appreciated stock may have considerable tax benefits for you.

Information for your Broker:

Charles Schwab & Co, Inc.
Phone: 1-800-435-9050
Account name – National Breast Cancer Coalition
Account number – 6595-8573
DTC number – 0164 Code 40
Our EIN – 52-1782065

Science Spotlight2

Each year at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS), thousands of researchers, clinicians, and advocates from all over the world come together to discuss the latest results from all areas of research, including everything from basic laboratory science to on-going clinical trials.  NBCC advocates attend the SABCS each year to listen and learn, but also to question and challenge the status quo.  And this year was no exception.  The following is based on a summary of the meeting highlights prepared by NBCC advocate, Tracy Leduc. 

The biggest takeaways for NBCC are that the medical oncology community seems ready to change how women are treated based on low levels of evidence, insufficient emphasis is placed on treatment toxicities, and there is no focus on financial cost to patients and the health care system. 

For example, the KATHERINE trial was one of the first to have results reported.  This trial enrolled patients with early stage HER2+ breast cancer and treated each with neoadjuvant chemotherapy and trastuzumab.  At the completion of neoadjuvant treatment, patients underwent surgery.  Those patients with residual invasive disease after neoadjuvant treatment were randomized to adjuvant treatment with either trastuzumab or T-DM1. T-DM1 is an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) that combines trastuzumab with a very toxic chemotherapy that is activated once inside a cancer cell.

The results at the interim analysis (3 years) of this open-label, phase 3 trial showed a moderate increase in invasive disease free survival; however, at this time, there is no statistically significant increase in overall survival. According to the study author, additional follow-up will be necessary to evaluate impact on overall survival. Additionally, the patients on the T-DM1 arm had significantly more grade 3 and 4 side effects.  Despite these data, many clinicians in attendance viewed the results of this trial as practice-changing, with many indicating that they would immediately start using T-DM1 for eligible patients as insurance allowed.  

Also in the spotlight at SABCS was the IMpassion130 trial, which examined in a double-blind trial, the effectiveness of atezolizumab (an immune checkpoint inhibitor) together with nab-paclitaxel (a nanoparticle formulation of paclitaxel) in advanced triple-negative breast cancer.  Stratification factors were the presence or absence of liver metastases, use or nonuse of neoadjuvant or adjuvant taxane treatment, and PD-L1 expression on tumor immune cells. Among all patients included in the trial, those receiving atezolizumab plus nab-paclitaxel demonstrated an improvement in median progression free survival of 7.2 months compared with 5.5 months in the control group (nab-paclitaxel alone), with no significant improvement in overall survival. Of most interest, however, were the results among the subgroup of patients with positive PD-L1 expression. Median progression free survival was 7.5 months compared to 5 months in the control group. There was also a ten-month increase in overall survival with the use of atezolizumab in combination with nab-paclitaxel over nab-paclitaxel alone. However, this was based on an interim analysis and, also, it has been noted that the potential benefit observed for PD-L1+ patients in this trial still needs to be confirmed by a subsequent, larger study. We do hope that the benefit is confirmed. As with the KATHERINE trial, many clinicians were of the opinion that these results were immediately practice changing. Minimal information on side effects was presented at SABCS, although a number of concerning adverse events were described in the October 20 NEJM publication. Furthermore, there is no accepted test for PD-L1 expression on immune cells, to determine who would benefit. 

Another study that received a lot of attention was a meta-analysis of the effects of extended therapy with aromatase inhibitors (AI).  The meta-analysis analyzed data from twelve randomized trials that included a total of 24,912 women, each of whom had ER+ disease.  The results of the meta-analysis showed the greatest benefit in terms of recurrent-free survival in women who took five years of tamoxifen followed by five years of an AI.  There was less benefit in those who took one AI for five years followed by a different AI, and the least benefit in women who took ten years of a single AI.  Again, many of the clinicians in attendance indicated that these results would be practice-changing for them in determining which drugs to prescribe for ER+ women and in what sequence.  

There were several sessions on radiotherapy.  Much attention was paid to the report on the ten-year follow-up results of a comparison between axillary node dissection and radiotherapy for node-positive breast cancer.  The study from the Netherlands showed that in women with one to three positive nodes, radiotherapy was not inferior to axillary node dissection.  And while the report concluded that there was a significantly lower incidence of lymphedema in the radiotherapy group and so "fewer side effects," there was no discussion of any other side effects of radiation.  

The Friday sessions focused on ways to address the potential side effects of certain treatments.  One study reported that there were fewer cardiac side effects from trastuzumab when patients were given either a beta-blocker or an ACE inhibitor during treatment.  Yet another reported that oxybutynin can help ease hot flashes brought about by treatment.  Again, there was little discussion of the side effects of these additional medications. 

Some presentations spoke to lifestyle interventions and quality of life. Two of the studies reported focused on exercise training and lifestyle interventions and showed that each could have benefits on weight and cardiac function.  And the Friday afternoon sessions were devoted mainly to studies examining the quality of life of breast cancer patients—a focus missing in most of the other presentations. 

other news

Women with Balls New York City

Join NBCC for the Women with Balls fundraising event in NYC!
Strike! Breast Cancer on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 at Bowlmor Lanes, Times Square, New York, NY. 

5:30 PM – Registration
6:00 PM – Champagne Reception
6:30 PM to 8:30 PM – Bowl! Strike! Compete! Win!

Enjoy food and drinks, prizes will be awarded to the top individual and team fundraisers.  Register and create your fundraising page.  If your company wants to be a sponsor or you need more information, contact Sharnita Goins at sgoins@breastcancerdeadline2020.orgwww.breastcancerdeadline2020.org/wwbnyc2019

DNA.LAND: We need you 

Funded by a seed grant from NBCC’s Artemis Project®, DNA.Land is developing a DNA database to further study breast cancer genomics. 

The database will serve as an important tool for breast cancer researchers and has the potential to advance approaches to prevent recurrence and determine risk for the disease. NBCC and DNA.Land scientists need participation from as many people as possible who have or have had breast cancer or have a first degree relative with a history of breast cancer.

If you’ve had your DNA analyzed with direct-to-consumer companies like 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or FamilyTreeDNA, you can upload your genomic information to DNA.Land’s database and help scientists learn more about the genetics of breast cancer.  The genomic data, along with answers from a breast cancer questionnaire developed by researchers and NBCC-trained advocates, will be used to identify genetic variants that impact risk and recurrence of the disease.

You can learn more about the collaboration here and here.