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Susan G. Komen Awards $4.5 Million for Environmental Research in Breast Cancer

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Susan G. Komen® announced funding for new environmental research grants aimed at understanding the role that the environment may play in breast cancer development. The awards, totaling $4.5 million, are part of more than $42 million in new grant funding announced by the organization for 2013.

The new grants include separate studies into the impact of radiation exposure on breast cancer development and in treatment; the impact of pollutants in areas where cancer rates are disproportionately high; the impact of air pollution on breast cancer development, and the role of synthetic chemicals called phthalates. The specific awards, as announced by Komen, follow.

Two grants totaling $1.4 million to Brigham and Women’s Medical Center in Boston, including:

  • $955,000 grant to Rulla Tamimi, ScD, to study cancer “clusters,” that is, areas of the country where breast cancer rates tend to be higher. The study will attempt to determine the role of exposure to air pollution, ultraviolet light and other toxins on breast cancer risk during the course of a woman’s life.

  • $450,000 to Thomas Ahern, PhD, to better understand the role of phthalates – synthetic chemicals found in consumer products and medications – in breast cancer development.

Two studies totaling nearly $2 million to examine the role of radiation in breast cancer development and treatment. These include:

  • A $1 million grant to Duke University Medical Center’s David Kirsch, PhD, to study how radiation used in breast cancer treatment affects the heart, and seek ways to minimize heart damage in women who receive radiation treatment.

  • A $995,000 grant to Ioannis Secholoulos, PhD, at Emory University in Atlanta to develop a new method to more accurately measure the amount of radiation a patient receives during routine screenings over her lifetime, with a goal of ultimately enabling healthcare providers to limit radiation exposure, if necessary. …

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