Research Funding

Since its inception in 2004, Living in Pink contributions have helped to fund a variety of local and national research endeavors to further the prevention and treatment of breast cancer.

Breast Care for Washington, DC – 2017
Community of Hope’s Conway Health and Resource Center

Breast Care for Washington is uniquely positioned to impact women’s access to breast cancer screening in the District of Columbia. Their operations were specifically designed to overcome current barriers that prevent low-income, medically underserved women from receiving high quality breast care. Their location in Ward 8 brings services to patient population that previously was hampered from receiving care because of distance to providers and a lack of transportation options. They are the only stationary 3D mammography facility providing direct services within a community health clinic setting. LEARN MORE…

Susan Steck, MD – 2012
University of South Carolina

Connections between chronic inflammation and increased risk of cancer and other health disorders have led researchers to develop a tool that ranks a person’s diet according to an index of foods that lead to pro- or anti-inflammatory effects.The study, published in Cancer Epidemiology and Biomarkers Prevention, concludes that individuals can take steps to increase their consumption of anti-inflammatory foods to reduce inflammation effects, which can in turn reduce cancer risks. This means choosing more fruits, nuts, green leafy vegetables, fish and whole grains over pro-inflammatory foods, such as red meat and processed foods containing trans fat. LEARN MORE…

Eliot Rosen, MD, Ph.D. – 2011
Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown

Dr. Rosen has identified a new class of drugs that target the estrogen driving recurring breast cancer, but work through a completely different mechanism than the current treatment options. In the laboratory the new compounds have proven effective in treating not only normal ER+ breast cancer cells, but also ER+ breast cancer cells that have developed resistance to the current drugs. The goal of Dr. Rosen’s research is to identify second generation compounds that are ten-fold more potent than our existing compounds (ie., that inhibit ER activity at ten-fold lower concentrations). The creation of this second generation is critical as more potent versions of the compounds translate to lower, and more effective, dosages of these drugs for future patients. Additionally, the second generation of these compounds will get the lab one step closer to pre-clinical testing for safety and efficacy in animal models, a necessary step on the road to drug development. LEARN MORE…

Koji Itahana, Ph.D. – 2009
University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill

Identifying genes involved in breast cancer development is key to developing new medications that target the cancerous cells and to improving genetic screening guidelines. The Foundation is supporting Koji Itahana, Ph.D., at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill to study the role of a protein, p32, in killing breast cancer cells and preventing tumor formation. This work could increase our understanding of breast cancer genetics and lay the groundwork for identifying a new gene to help physicians assess cancer risk in patients. LEARN MORE…

Sandra M. Swain, MD – 2008
Washington Cancer Institute at Washington Hospital Center

Sandra M. Swain, MD, medical director, Washington Cancer Institute at Washington Hospital Center, accepted a gift of $35,000 from Living in Pink founder Michele Conley and committee member Kathleen Battista. “I am delighted that Washington Cancer Institute’s research program has been selected to receive this gift, generated from the passion of women who share with me, the goal of eradicating breast cancer,? said Dr. Swain. “This donation will contribute toward this goal by supporting research for medical advances in breast cancer treatments. The contribution and support of Living in Pink is greatly appreciated.” Thanks to this generous research grant, Dr. Swain is able to further her research focused on SRC tyrosine kinase, which is believed to play an important role in the development and progression of many cancers.

Robert Strange, PhD – 2007 & 2008
University of Colorado

Moderate exercise has recently been linked to a decreased risk of cancer; however, the mechanism responsible for the decreased risk is not understood. Dr. Strange’s research proposes that, with exercise, angiogenesis will preferentially be increased in muscle, and blood flow will be directed and redistributed to muscle. Conversely, it is hypothesized that exercise will result in decreased angiogenesis and reduced blood supply in the tumor. This will in turn lead to an increase in tumor cell death, slowed tumor growth, and tumor regression. This study represents a first attempt to evaluate the effect of exercise on breast cancer progression by examining the mechanism responsible for exercise-mediated tumor growth inhibition.

Ehsan Samei, Ph.D. – 2006
Duke University Medical Center

Mammography is currently the most reliable screening technique used for breast cancer detection. However, this method of screening has difficulty visualizing masses and micro-calcifications hidden in dense tissue. Normal tissue, called anatomical noise, can prevent radiologists from seeing important changes in dense breast tissue. Acquiring two views of each breast can help radiologists eliminate this problem, but taking two views requires two separate, uncomfortable compressions of the patient’s breast. Moreover, the image data from the two views cannot be directly compared. This study is investigating the feasibility of a new imaging procedure, called Stereo Imaging (SI), in which two digital radiographic images of the breast are acquired using a single compression. The SI method produces three-dimensional X-ray images with stereo views of the possible breast lesions and has the potential to be easily translated into clinical settings.

Ann-Marie Simeone – 2005
University of Texas – M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Almost half of women diagnosed with breast cancer after menopause are obese. These women also have a higher risk of developing secondary breast malignancies even after chemotherapy and mastectomy. Dr. Simeone is hoping to find an effective way to prevent these secondary cancers and reduce the death rate in these women. She believes that higher levels of the hormones prostaglandin E2 and leptin decrease these patients’ sensitivity to chemopreventive drugs, including the drug tamoxifen. Simeone hopes to discover why this happens — information that will help in the development of more effective, tailored chemopreventive strategies that would benefit obese breast cancer patients and improve their clinical outcome.