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The one hundred honoree: Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF)

Donor Story

The one hundred honoree: Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF)

Mass General Giving

Breast Cancer Research Foundation stands today as the largest private funder of breast cancer research worldwide, with grants currently supporting 250 researchers across six continents. Since its founding in 1993, BCRF has raised nearly $700 million dollars for lifesaving research, fueling advances in tumor biology, genetics, prevention, treatment, metastasis and survivorship. Through a unique and streamlined grants program, the foundation seeks out the brightest minds in science and medicine and gives them the resources to pursue their best ideas. As a result, researchers are able to make discoveries and design new approaches to address all aspects of breast cancer—and do so in record time.

Grants from BCRF are supporting important research initiatives at the Mass General Cancer Center. Priscilla Brastianos, MD, director of the Central Nervous System Metastasis Program, is heading up research to identify new therapeutic opportunities for patients with brain metastases. Dennis Sgroi, MD, co-director of Breast Pathology, is testing the accuracy of a diagnostic test called Breast Cancer Index in African-American women diagnosed with breast cancer. Daniel Haber, MD, PhD, director of the Cancer Center, is working with colleagues to develop a microfluidic chip. This will capture minute amounts of circulating tumor cells, providing critical insight into the biology of metastatic breast cancer.

BCRF’s global impact is significant. In 2016-2017, BCRF awarded $57 million in annual grants to more than 250 scientists from around the globe. The scope of BCRF’s work also includes the Evelyn H. Lauder Founder’s Fund, a multi-year $31 million international initiative dedicated to metastatic breast cancer. The Founder’s Fund, which will include the data generated by Dr. Brastianos, is the first large-scale global effort to unravel the biology of metastasis by analyzing the molecular changes in the primary breast cancer and comparing them to changes in the metastatic tumor. In addition, BCRF joined forces with the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot and the Prostate Cancer Foundation to support efforts in developing a Blood Profiling Atlas that will standardize the way tumor DNA is measured in patient blood and will enable scientists across the globe to study and share cancer genomic data generated from blood.