The summit is a key event of the Komen Metastatic Breast Cancer Collaborative Research Initiative, launched in 2019 to bring together researchers from these two world-renowned cancer institutes to develop treatments that will help people with MBC to live longer, better lives.
"While often rivals in other settings, the institutions are united by a shared desire to accelerate therapies for treating the disease and ultimately finding the cures," read a press release by Susan G. Komen. "The Summit will include a robust discussion about the most critical MBC research needs. Participants will hear valuable perspectives from MBC patients, learn what researchers at both institutions are doing to end MBC and meet potential collaborators to expand and develop new ideas that could receive grant funding."
Among the summit speakers are Dorothy Sipkins, MD, PhD, who co-leads the NCI-designated Precision Cancer Medicine and Investigational Therapeutics Research Program at DCI; breast oncologist P. Kelly Marcom, MD, director of DCI's Breast Cancer Disease Group; Donald McDonnell, PhD, associate director for Translational Research at DCI; Zhou Zhang, PhD, assistant professor in the Duke Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology; and Tomi Akinyemiju, PhD, associate director for Community Outreach and Engagement for DCI.
Earlier this month, Komen announced it has so far raised close to $1 million for the Komen Metastatic Breast Cancer Collaborative Research Initiative. With the funds raised, Komen will issue grants to DCI and Lineberger researchers for collaborative research projects centered on addressing critical gaps in knowledge about metastatic breast cancer and developing more effective therapies and strategies to prevent metastasis from occurring.
Included in that nearly $1 million raised for the collaborative research initiative is a recent $500,000 investment by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) for a new grant to fund collaborative research into "the tragic disparities in metastatic breast cancer outcomes between Black women living with stage IV, metastatic breast cancer and their white counterparts."
At the close of the summit, Donald McDonnell, PhD, associate director for Translational Research at DCI will join Lisa Carey, MD, deputy director of Clinical Sciences, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center; Pam Kohl, development director of the MBC Collaborative Research Initiative; Kimberly Sabelko, PhD, vice president of Scientific Strategy & Programs, Susan G Komen; Brandon Tom, VP and general manager at Biologics by McKesson; and Kia Williams, MD, MSPH, associate medical director at Blue Cross NC, for a virtual press conference.
Biologics by McKesson is the summit's presenting sponsor.