METAvivor Announces 2015 Metastatic Breast Cancer Research Grants

BY METAvivor Board of Directors


METAvivor Research and Support Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to funding research for Stage IV metastatic breast cancer, announced twelve grant awards totaling one million dollars in 2015, a record for the organization and a sharp increase over last year’s grant cycle.  These research grants will enhance the understanding of metastatic breast cancer, and help develop greatly needed therapeutic options to combat this complicated disease.

Metastatic breast cancer (also known as Stage IV or advanced stage breast cancer) is the spread of breast cancer to non-adjacent parts of the body -- most commonly to the bones, liver, lungs and/or brain. Currently, metastatic breast cancer is minimally treatable, but not survivable. Metastatic breast cancer accounts for 100% of the 40,000 annual deaths due to breast cancer.

This is the 6th annual grant cycle funded by METAvivor.  Including this year’s grants, METAvivor has awarded a total of 26 grants to career metastases researchers to study innovative technology and develop models to better understand and treat metastatic breast cancer. Since its founding in 2009, METAvivor has put 100% of donations into its peer-reviewed research grant program. METAvivor is very grateful to our volunteer scientific peer review panelists for their work selecting this year's grant recipients.

Dian “CJ” Corneliussen, co-founder and Interim President of METAvivor, said, “METAvivor was founded by a community of people with Stage IV breast cancer who understood that research for metastatic breast cancer was woefully underfunded.  We wanted to advocate and raise funds for this critical research.  From giving out one grant of $55,000 in 2010, we have grown substantially over the years, and are delighted to have reached this important milestone in our work—funding grants totalling $1 million dollars.  It shows the growing support for our work, and the recognition that research for Stage IV breast cancer needs more funding.”

This year, METAvivor was pleased to award two grants for work focused exclusively on liver metastasis.  The Abbey Rapoport and Jenessa Shapiro research grants will fund vital research on models that will delve into the causes of liver metastasis.  Dr. Arti Santhanam, Director of Research for METAvivor said, “We are honored to have been selected as partners by the Rapoport family, and by friends and family members of Jenessa Shapiro. The Rapoport family made a significant donation to sponsor a grant, and friends and family members of Jenessa Shapiro raised an extraordinary sum to honor Jenessa Shapiro. Both Abbey and Jenessa suffer from the disease. Their generosity and commitment may help make a difference in the lives of other patients suffering from liver metastasis.”

The METAvivor 2015 award recipients are:


The Abbey Rapoport – METAvivor Grant
“Genomic Dissection of Patient-Derived Xenograft Breast Cancer Liver Metastasis Models.” --Dr. J. Chuck Harrell, Virginia Commonwealth University

The Jenessa Shapiro – METAvivor Grant
“Development of a Humanized Mouse Model of Breast Cancer Liver Metastasis.” --Dr. Yibin Kang, Princeton University


“Sensitizing Bone Metastasis to Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy by Targeting Jagged1-mediated Tumor-stromal Interactions.” --Dr. Yibin Kang, Princeton University

“Modeling Therapeutic Strategies for Breast Cancer Metastasis to Bone.” --Dr. Bonnie L. King, Stanford University School of Medicine

“Targeting Cancer Stem Cells to Treat Metastasis.” --Dr. Sendurai A. Mani, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

“Novel Regulatory Mechanisms of Cell Survival During Bone Metastasis of Breast
Cancer.” --Dr. Jitesh Pratap, Rush University Medical Center

“Targeting Creatine Kinases to Inhibit Metastatic Breast Cancer.”
--Dr. Tiffany N. Seagroves, University of Tennessee Health Science Center

“A Pre-Clinical Model of anti-HER2/neu-Antibody Reactive Breast Cancer Metastases.” --Dr. George Sgouros, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

“Harnessing Vascular and Cellular Depots of Nanotherapeutics for the Treatment of Metastatic Breast Cancer.” --Dr. Haifa Shen, Houston Methodist Research Institute

“Identification of Candidate Target Genes for Metastasis and Cancer Cell Dormancy in a Novel Triple-negative Breast Cancer Model.” --Dr. Kay-Uwe Wagner, University of Nebraska Medical Center

“Targeting Growth-factor Receptor Discordant Metastatic Breast Cancer.” --Dr. Michael K. Wendt, Purdue University

“Application of a Connexin 43 (Cx43) Targeted Agent for the Treatment of Metastatic Breast Cancer.” --Dr. Elizabeth Yeh, Medical University of South Carolina

METAvivor Research and Support Inc. is an Annapolis-based, 501(c)(3) all-volunteer non-profit organization founded by metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients in 2009.  METAvivor raises awareness of MBC, provides support for people living with this disease, and offers many opportunities for others to help make a difference for the metastatic community.  Our top priority is to fund critical research that will lead to advances in treatment options, quality of life and survival for patients diagnosed with MBC.

Since 2009, METAvivor has expanded nationwide and awarded 26 research grants totaling close to $1,900,000.  METAvivor has gained a rapidly growing following within the breast cancer community, and has become a leader in its field.  METAvivor is the only national organization with a peer-reviewed grant program aimed at exclusively funding MBC research.

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