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  • Voices of Impact – Dr. Gordon B. Mills

    Dr. Gordon B. Mills received the 2013 Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Basic Science for his significant contributions to breast cancer research, which have been essential to advancing our understanding of the key processes that drive breast cancer’s initiation, progression and response to therapy. Dr. Mills has championed a cancer systems biology approach to understand the impact of genomic aberrations on complex signaling networks at the proteomic (protein) level, with the goal of individualizing cancer diagnosis and treatment. The award was presented on December 11 during the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

    Dr. Gordon B. Mills, M.D., Ph.D., Houston, TX – Researcher, Komen Brinker Award winner for Distinction in Basic Science

    “In 2007, Komen awarded me a grant that facilitated the development of a new tool to study proteins and their functions within breast cancers.”

    “All scientists young and old must remember that we are dependent on the intellectual input of colleagues and trainees. It is not the success of the individual that is important but rather that of the research team.”

    Like many of the previous winners of this award, I too came to breast cancer research by an unexpected route. No one in my family had ever graduated from or even attended college. However, reading about the great scientists of the previous centuries encouraged me to make research a career choice.

    People may not understand that “basic biology” is anything but basic! During my training in biochemistry and in medical school, I was attracted to immunology as a field of research. When I started my career, I was interested in the lack of immune response to the fetus during pregnancy, and how the clearly different genetic makeup of the fetus escapes rejection by the mother’s immune system. This biologic enigma led me to pursue a fellowship in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Along the way, my focus shifted to tumor immunology. I wanted to know how the lack of a mother’s immune response to a fetus related to a patient’s apparent lack of immune response to a tumor. Our team was among the first to describe new methods for immunotherapy that established some of the concepts that are used in cancer immune cell therapy today.

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  • International Race for the Cure Recap: Republic of Georgia and Tanzania

    In 2008, we were very proud to have expanded the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® series beyond its domestic Komen Affiliate network by establishing successful partnerships with leading nonprofit organizations from around the world to organize Race for the Cure events outside of the United States.  The International Race series has changed the way communities around the world view and react to the words “breast cancer” and how breast cancer survivors are regarded in their respective countries. 

    While each International Race is unique, they all have the common goal of increasing breast cancer awareness, providing a sense of hope and community to those who have suffered from the disease and educating the public and local governments about breast health. Race events create a positive environment in which breast cancer is put in the public eye.  Despite local taboos, we have seen the power of women around the world breaking the silence about breast cancer.  On Race day, brave survivors acknowledge their disease and continue to dispel myths about breast cancer, serving as ambassadors for the cause.  As a result, other survivors feel hopeful and women are empowered to take control of their health.

    But the impact of our International Race series doesn’t stop on Race day.  Thanks to these events, local survivor support groups have been established, access to screening, diagnosis and treatment has been increased, breast cancer awareness programs for key target groups have been created, and patient support programs continue to grow. 

    Over the past month, Race events took place in Belgium, Greece, Germany, Italy, Puerto Rico, Bosnia & Herzegovina, the Republic of Georgia and Tanzania.  In this four-part series, we recap these international events while providing information about their local mission work.  

    We finish the series with recaps from the Republic of Georgia and Tanzania.

    In Georgia, we are proud to have joined forces with Women Wellness Care Alliance (HERA) to organize the annual Race for the Cure at Vake Park in Tbilisi, an event that – in its 5th year – is well-known among the population of Georgia. This year’s Race took place on October 13, 2013, and attracted over 1,000 registered participants, including 130 breast cancer survivors. A group of survivors grew special pink flowers in small flower pots and displayed them at the Race as a symbol of hope.

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  • International Race for the Cure Recap: Bosnia and Puerto Rico

    In 2008, we were very proud to have expanded the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® series beyond its domestic Komen Affiliate network by establishing successful partnerships with leading nonprofit organizations from around the world to organize Race for the Cure events outside of the United States.  The International Race series has changed the way communities around the world view and react to the words “breast cancer” and how breast cancer survivors are regarded in their respective countries. 

    While each International Race is unique, they all have the common goal of increasing breast cancer awareness, providing a sense of hope and community to those who have suffered from the disease and educating the public and local governments about breast health. Race events create a positive environment in which breast cancer is put in the public eye.  Despite local taboos, we have seen the power of women around the world breaking the silence about breast cancer.  On Race day, brave survivors acknowledge their disease and continue to dispel myths about breast cancer, serving as ambassadors for the cause.  As a result, other survivors feel hopeful and women are empowered to take control of their health.

    But the impact of our International Race series doesn’t stop on Race day.  Thanks to these events, local survivor support groups have been established, access to screening, diagnosis and treatment has been increased, breast cancer awareness programs for key target groups have been created, and patient support programs continue to grow. 

    Over the past month, Race events took place in Belgium, Greece, Germany, Italy, Puerto Rico, Bosnia & Herzegovina, the Republic of Georgia and Tanzania.  In this four-part series , we recap these international events while providing information about their local mission work.

    We continue the series with recaps from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Puerto Rico.

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  • Wrapping Up Another Year of Racing for the Cure

    All for One and One for All at the San Diego Race

    From San Diego to Shreveport, survivors and supporters put on their pink to support the last three Races of 2013.

    On Saturday, November 2, a sea of pink covered Balboa Park in sunny San Diego as more than 13,000 people attended the 17th annual Susan G. Komen San Diego Race for the Cure®.

    “The Race for the Cure is fun and festive, but this Race is more than just a celebration,” said Laura Farmer Sherman, executive director of Komen San Diego. “The Race provides critical funding for families in San Diego County touched by breast cancer.”

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  • A One of a Kind Donation

    Guest post by Julie Guevara, Marketing & Communications Manager, Komen Orange County. 

    Susan G. Komen Orange County recently embarked on an exciting partnership with MemorialCare Medical Group and the Susan G. Komen Tissue Bank at the Indiana University Simon Cancer Center. The Komen Tissue Bank (KTB) is the only repository in the world for normal breast tissue and matched serum, plasma and DNA. To more deeply understand the evolution of breast cancer, it is necessary to compare abnormal, cancerous tissue against normal, healthy tissue. By studying normal tissue, research for the causes and prevention of the disease may be accelerated.

    While the Komen Tissue Bank is not in their service area, Komen Orange County organized the event with the goal of helping to diversify the pool of specimens. On Saturday, November 2, the Komen Tissue Bank collected healthy breast tissue samples from 201 Orange County women of Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Tongan, Hispanic, African-American and Caucasian descent. Two Komen Orange County staff members and four Affiliate board members were also among those who donated healthy breast tissue at the event. This was the first time a collection event has been held on the West Coast.

    The idea for the collection came after three Orange County women, Charlene Kazner, a Hawaiian Islander living in Garden Grove; Angela Acevedo-Malouf, a Latina living in Mission Viejo; and Jang Pang, of Chinese and Japanese descent of Huntington Beach, flew to Indianapolis so researchers could extract and store samples of their healthy breast tissue for the Komen Tissue Bank. Then they brought their experience and their passion for inclusion of diverse populations in breast cancer research back to Orange County.

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