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Breast Cancer Academic Research Program Launched

Breast self exam

(National Cancer Institute)

23 February 2016. Breast Cancer Research Foundation in New York began a new initiative to attract more academic researchers to take part in clinical trials of cancer therapies. The group is starting its Drug Research Collaborative, with a $15 million contribution from drug maker Pfizer, that is also granting research access to its cancer drug pipeline.

The Drug Research Collaborative aims to encourage academic researchers to devote more of their energies to clinical trials, usually the responsibility of pharmaceutical and biotechnology enterprises. “It will encourage more creative, academic-driven research and give more patients access to clinical trials, says Larry Norton, the foundation’s scientific director, in a statement from the organization. “We believe this unique approach has the potential to greatly accelerate and impact research progress, and ultimately, lead to more breakthrough discoveries.”

The clinical trials sponsored under this program will be conducted by the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium , a collection of 17 established clinical study sites, with several working groups organized around different types of breast cancer. Members of the consortium share clinical results and biological specimens, and study mechanisms of breast cancer development that can be applied to clinical studies or practice.

In addition to providing the first funding for the initiative, Pfizer is also offering researchers access to its approved product line as well as new cancer treatments in development. “We believe that great science comes through collaboration,” says Maria Koehler, a vice-president in Pfizer’s oncology division. “This unique initiative allows the greatest scientific minds across the globe to help advance research with our portfolio.” The foundation says it hopes to attract other pharmaceutical companies to the program.

Breast Cancer Research Foundation seeks out research interest from scientists and does not usually consider unsolicited proposals. The group reviews invited proposals in the spring and summer and awards grants of no more than $250,000 per year. Grants are approved and announced in August of each year.

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Disclosure: The author owns shares in Pfizer.

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