JHMI Office of Communications and Public Affairs

October 16, 2000
MEDIA CONTACT: Vanessa Wasta
PHONE: (410) 955-1287
E-MAIL: wastava@jhmi.edu

Hopkins Gets $2.7 Million NCI Grant For Breast Cancer Research

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center have been awarded a five-year multimillion-dollar grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for breast cancer research. Known as SPORE (Specialized Programs of Research Excellence) the prestigious grant will provide $2.7 million during the first year of funding for breast cancer risk assessment, diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

This latest grant gives Hopkins an unprecedented four such SPORE grants. The others fund research in colon cancer, prostate cancer, and lung cancer.

"Receiving a SPORE grant from the NCI is incredibly important to our breast cancer research program. It will strengthen our ability to work with many scientists in different specialties throughout Hopkins to address important questions in breast cancer and give us the resources to build on what we’re already doing," says Nancy Davidson, M.D., director of Hopkins’ breast cancer SPORE grant and professor of oncology.

Among the research projects Dr. Davidson and others will lead are studies of the genetic alterations that lead to breast cancer and characterization of these genes for prevention, diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. Several genetic alterations which have been shown to be a hallmark of human cancer, largely through work done at Hopkins, will be studied as markers for staging and early detection methods. Scientists will also investigate a group of compounds known as polyamine analogs that target cancer cells by inhibiting cancer cell growth and promoting cell death. Other research projects include development and testing of a novel breast cancer prevention vaccine and identifying estimated breast cancer risk associated with a range of molecular markers.

Other institutions that also have received new breast cancer SPORE grants are Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, Northwestern University’s Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

With more than 180,000 U.S. women diagnosed each year, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. In Maryland alone, 3,700 women are newly diagnosed annually, and an additional 45,000 American women die from breast cancer each year.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Please see Hopkins’ tip sheet about other breast cancer programs and studies at Johns Hopkins.

Related Web Sites:

Johns Hopkins Oncology Center: www.hopkinskimmelcancercenter.org

National Cancer Institute: www.nci.nih.gov

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