Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and two other Florida institutions awarded more than $1.2 million.

MIAMI – September 19, 2016 – Building on its bold goal to reduce current breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the U.S. over the next decade, Susan G. Komen, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, today announced $32.7 million in new research grants for 2016. The awards include $1,230,000 in new funding for research at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, and the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa.

• Manuel Picon Ruiz, Ph.D. of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center will receive $180,000 to investigate why overweight post-menopausal women are at an increased risk for breast cancer. Dr. Ruiz will test whether circulating estrogens in the blood promote chronic inflammation in the breast – a condition that favors the growth of ER+ breast cancer cells.

• Komen Scholar Keith Knutson, Ph.D. of the Mayo Clinic will receive $600,000 to develop a vaccine to prevent breast cancer by identifying proteins present only on tumor cells that will trigger an immune response.

• Haitao (Mark) Ji, Ph.D. of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute will receive $450,000 to develop a new targeted therapy which prevents two proteins, called β-Catenin and TCF, from fitting together like a lock and key. Blocking this interaction could prevent the development of drug-resistant triple negative breast cancer.
Komen’s Investments in Florida

Komen’s research program is funded in part by contributions from Komen’s nationwide Network of Affiliates, which direct 25 percent of funds raised locally to Komen’s national research program, while investing the remaining 75 percent into community outreach programs that serve local women and men facing breast cancer.

Since 2000, Susan G. Komen® Miami/Ft. Lauderdale has funded $11,507,893 to community programs serving women and men in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe Counties, while contributing $4,173,494 to Komen research. Since its founding in 1982, Komen has awarded $19,062,780 in national grants to researchers throughout Florida.

“We are extremely fortunate to have groundbreaking cancer centers like Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in our community,” said Nathalie Bruk, executive director of Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale. “The dollars our friends, family and neighbors raise in this fight help Sylvester researchers and others make important advancements, and help fund lifesaving programs in our community.”

“For nearly 35 years our organization has been a leader in the fight to end breast cancer, changing how people think about, talk about and treat this disease. Now, with a sharpened focus on our organization’s new strategic direction, we are delighted to announce new research funding that will play a significant role in making our bold goal a reality,” said Komen President and CEO Judy Salerno, M.D., M.S.

“Not only will these grants accelerate our understanding of key areas in breast cancer research, but they include funding for early-career investigators. As federal research dollars become increasingly difficult to secure, these awards give promising young researchers an opportunity to establish their careers, and help ensure breakthrough breast cancer research continues for years to come,” Dr. Salerno added. “Their work is essential to achieving our vision of a world without breast cancer.”

Grants from Komen’s nearly $33 million 2016 research portfolio* – including more than $16 million to early-career investigators – will focus on promising areas in research that have the greatest potential to save lives, including:

– 38 grants expanding knowledge of metastatic breast cancer and how to stop it.
– 15 grants looking into novel treatments for aggressive types of breast cancer (specifically, triple negative, Luminal B and inflammatory breast cancer).
– 21 grants advancing the ability to detect primary and recurrent breast cancer at its earliest stages.
– 12 grants identifying the causes of breast cancer disparities and testing ways to overcome barriers to care.

For more information about Komen’s bold goal of cutting breast cancer mortality by 50 percent over the next decade, please visit For more information about the Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Affiliate, visit

About Susan G. Komen®
Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization outside of the federal government, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Since its founding in 1982, Komen has funded more than $920 million in research and provided more than $2 billion in funding to screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs. Komen has worked in more than 60 countries worldwide. Komen was founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life. Visit or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at

*Contingent upon signed and executed contracts with Komen


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