Reflection of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting

Guest post by Ami Patel, Susan G. Komen Research Project Manager. 

I recently traveled to the warm and sunny city of San Diego for the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting. It was a wonderful opportunity to understand our growing partnership with the AACR, and to appreciate the work being done to bring us closer to achieving our mission.

Throughout the course of the conference, it was an inspiring experience to see Komen representation in various forms, including Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) member, Dr. Carlos Arteaga, being inaugurated as AACR president. Komen’s support of the AACR Scientist-Survivor Program, Scholar-in-Training Awards and Breast Cancer Sessions were highly visible, along with our Komen Scholars and grantees presenting on research that was made possible through Komen funded support. Komen’s support for AACR’s Scientist-Survivor Program allows for partnerships and collaborations among patient advocates, cancer survivors and members of the scientific community.

Scholar-In-Training awardees with Komen Staff and SAB member, Dr. Carlos Arteaga.

Komen is focused on the future of breast cancer research, which was apparent at the AACR meeting through our support of the Scholar-In-Training Awards. The Scholar-In-Training Awards are financial support, provided to young investigators to enhance their education and training through conference attendance. AACR showed their support for this important work as well, selecting their “NextGen Stars;” young researchers who were invited to present their research. One of these outstanding young scientists was Dr. Priscilla Brastianos; a Komen funded Postdoctoral Fellow, who presented alongside Komen Scholars, Dr. Nancy Hynes and Dr. Danny Welch, about the Novel Mechanisms of Metastasis. Dr. Brastianos shares more about her work in a recent episode of Komen TV.

Collaboration seemed to be an ongoing theme during this conference. It was evident in the Love Army of Women Panel Discussion, where our work through the Komen Tissue Bank was presented. The Tissue Bank is an important resource for researchers around the globe, as it’s the only tissue bank with both healthy and cancerous tissue samples. Through collaboration with the Tissue Bank, and the thousands of tissue donors from across the globe, researchers can find resources they need to continue with their work to end this disease.

Komen AIS member, Terri Martyka.

The Komen Advocates in Science (AIS) demonstrate the potential of collaboration as well, lending a patient’s voice to important research discussions. Komen AIS member Terri Martyka presented a poster on Research Advocacy and the critical roles that advocates play in our mission, as part of her participation in the Scientist-Survivor Program.

At the Komen exhibit, it was exhilarating to not only meet researchers, but also to meet individuals who stopped by to tell us that they participate in activities that support breast cancer programs in their own communities, such as the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® and the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®. These individuals understand the importance of our work to end breast cancer forever.

Attending this conference, as a representative of Komen, was an amazing experience for me. Through our work in research, community health outreach, education and advocacy, we are truly moving closer to our vision of a world without breast cancer.

About the author

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Susan G. Komen has written 284 articles for Susan G. Komen® | Blog

Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure®, we have invested more than $1.9 billion to fulfill our promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world.