TBBCF awards $400,000 for research

TBBCF funds four grants for breast cancer research


The Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation has awarded $400,000 in research grants to four women who are trying to find a cure for breast cancer and are searching for better ways to treat those who are diagnosed with cancer,

“There is an energy and intelligence from each of these researchers that would hearten any patient benefactor,” said Nicholas Saccomano, chairman of the TBBCF Scientific Advisory Board.

The 2019 fellows are Veerle Daniels and Ana C. Garrido-Castro of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Jing Hu of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; and Laura Spring of Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center.

“These four fellows represent for this foundation an enviable blend of early detection, clinical science and translational research, therapeutic discovery, and fundamental cancer biology research” said Saccomano. “Few organizations are as privileged as ours to have the opportunity to support scientific inquiry and promising careers at remarkable institutions across a continuum of activities that will ease the burden of breast cancer in our time.”

Saccomano, along with other members of the advisory board, reviewed more than 25 applications from around the world for the annual award. In addition to Saccomano, PhD, chief scientific officer at Array Bio-Pharma Inc., the advisory board includes, Co-chair John LaMattina, PhD, former president of Pfizer Global Research and Development; Michael Garabedian, PhD, professor and course director at New York University Medical Center; Susan Logan, PhD, associate professor at New York University Medical Center; and Michael Morin, PhD, chief executive officer of Immunome Inc. All are founding members of TBBCF.

This year, TBBCF had enough money to give out four $100,000 grants. To date, TBBCF, a grassroots non-profit based in New London and founded in 2006, has awarded more than $4.4 million that has gone directly to cancer research.

The 2019 research fellows will spend the next two years working on their projects.

Dr. Spring, who is developing novel therapeutic and biomarker strategies to improve the care of breast cancer patients, completed her undergraduate studies at Tufts University and received her medical degree from UMass Medical School. She completed her residency training in internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and completed a fellowship in medical oncology at Dana-Farber. She is an attending physician in breast medical oncology at Mass General and is an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School. For more information on her research go to https://tbbcf.org/laura-spring/

Dr. Hu is studying the immune responses in metastatic breast cancer, which will contribute to innovative ways of treating relapses in metastatic breast cancer. She earned a PhD in the Molecular Cancer Biology Program at Duke University, where she studied under the supervision of Dr. Xiao-Fan Wang. She is a postdoctoral fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering, working in the lab of Dr. Joan Massague. For more information on her research go to https://tbbcf.org/jing-hu/

Dr. Garrido-Castro, a member of the faculty at the Dana-Farber Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers, will study the evolution of tumors to explain the mechanisms and therapeutic implications in metastatic breast cancer. She received her medical degree from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, and completed her training in medical oncology at Vall d’Hebron Hospital in Barcelona. She joined Dana-Farber in 2016 after being chosen for the Advanced Fellowship in Breast Cancer Oncology program and as a research fellow at Harvard Medical School. She is also expected to be appointed as an instructor in medicine at Harvard. For more details on her research go to https://tbbcf.org/ana-garrido-castro/

Dr. Daniels is studying triple negative breast cancer, also known as TNBC, to find more targeted treatment. TNBC is currently treated with conventional chemotherapy but therapy resistance is frequent, making it one of the most severe subtypes of breast cancer. Her work will include identifying metabolic pathways that can be targeted in combination with conventional chemotherapies. Dr. Daniels did her undergraduate studies in pharmaceutical sciences at KULeuven University in Belgium, and in 2009 transitioned to oncology at KULeuven for her PhD. In 2015 she moved to Dana-Farber to start post-doctoral training in the lab under the direction of Dr. Anthony Letai, M.D., PhD. For more information on her research go to https://tbbcf.org/veerle-daniels/