Environmental Links to Breast Cancer Tops New Susan G. Komen Research Funding


Researchers to Receive $4.5 million for Environmental Research from Largest Nonprofit Funder of Breast Cancer Research

DALLAS – August 1, 2013 – Susan G. Komen® today announced $4.5 million in research funding to more fully understand the role that environmental issues play in breast cancer development. The grants will be part of Komen’s $42 million 2013 research portfolio.

The new environmental grants will build on research that Komen has already funded to more fully understand the role of toxins and other environmental factors that may contribute to breast cancer.

Komen Chief Mission Officer Chandini Portteus said that the environmental grants are just one element in Komen’s more than $790 million research program – the largest breast cancer research investment of any nonprofit outside of the U.S. government.

“These environmental studies will add to our understanding of how breast cancer develops,” Portteus said. “At the same time, Komen will continue to fund research along the entire cancer spectrum – from prevention, to better screening, more personalized treatments for metastatic disease, and ending disparities in outcomes for women of color and those without adequate access to healthcare.”

Komen’s Virginia Blue Ridge Commitment

Since it’s inception in 2008, the Virginia Blue Ridge Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® has raised more than one and a half million dollars for both local breast cancer programs and national breast cancer research. This year the This year, the Blue Ridge Affiliate is funding six community health programs totaling $318,104.00 that provide screenings, education, financial aid and social and emotional support to women and families throughout the state.

“Up to 75 percent of the net funds we raise locally stay here to support our local community health and education programs. The other 25 percent helps fund Komen’s national research programs,” said Janet Frantz, President of the Virginia Blue Ridge Affiliate of Susan G. Komen®. “We’re thankful for our supporters who help us serve our communities here at home, while supporting our education and research institutions. A list of public health programs funded by the Affiliate can be found HERE.

Environmental Grants Topics

The five environmental grants awarded for 2013 include separate studies on the impact of radiation exposure on breast cancer development during screening and treatment; pollutants in areas where cancer rates are disproportionately high; the impact of air pollution on breast cancer development, and the role of synthetic chemicals called phthalates.

These grants include grants to Brigham and Women’s Medical Center in Boston; Duke University in Durham, N.C.; Emory University in Atlanta; and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. More details on these grants can be found at Komen.org.

“In each of these grants, we are attempting to move beyond theories to establish a solid base of scientific evidence on the role of environmental exposures to breast cancer development,” said Portteus.

Komen has already invested nearly $14 million into 38 research grants studying environmental and lifestyle factors that may affect breast cancer risk, such as chemicals, diet, weight, exercise and alcohol use.

“Our research and community health outreach would not be possible without the generosity of our partners and donors in communities, and we are so grateful for those who understand and support this vital work for all people facing breast cancer,” Portteus said.

A complete list and description of Komen’s 2013 grants is available here.

All grants and awards are contingent upon receipt of a fully executed agreement.


About Susan G. Komen®

Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Suzy, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer. Today, Susan G. Komen® works to end breast cancer in the U.S. and throughout the world by investing more than $790 million in breast cancer research and $1.5 billion in community outreach programs over the past 30 years; providing funding to help low-income and uninsured women get screened and get treatment; advocating for cancer research and outreach programs; and working globally in more than 30 countries. Visit komen.org. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.