Metavivor Announces Additional Funding for Metastatic Breast Cancer Research

BY METAvivor Board of Directors


METAvivor Research and Support is proud to announce six additional metastatic breast cancer research awards totaling $1.050,000.  The additional grant awards are a direct result of donor led fundraising.

ANNAPOLIS, MD, Jan. 1, 2019 - METAvivor Research and Support Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to funding research for Stage IV metastatic breast cancer (MBC), announces additional funding for metastatic breast cancer research grants for 2018. Metavivor initially announced $2.35 million in metastatic breast cancer research awards in November of 2018. The additional funding of $1,050,000 in grant awards came from generous donors and collaborators. The additional grant awards will allow the organization to fund all exceptionally scored research proposals presented in 2018. The research awards are focused on metastatic breast cancer and advancing options for treatment and therapies for patients. Since its founding in 2009, Metavivor has put 100% of donations into its peer-reviewed research grant program.

Metastatic breast cancer (also known as Stage IV or advanced stage cancer) is the spread of breast cancer to other parts of the body -- most commonly to the bones, liver, lungs and/or brain. Approximately 30% of breast cancer patients metastasize, with the mean survival after diagnosis being 33 months. In the US, only 2-5% of all cancer research funds are dedicated to Stage IV cancer research – yet 99% of all breast cancer deaths are caused by a metastasis. 

The additional grant funding for 2018 include one Early Career Investigator award and five Translational Research awards.

Beth Fairchild, President of METAvivor, said, “Metavivor has grown exponentially since 2009. With the additional award of these six research grants, we have awarded 68 metastatic breast cancer research grants totaling $7.4 million since our founding. Metavivor focuses grants specifically on stage IV metastatic breast cancer research. This area of breast cancer research is very underfunded. We credit our ability to fund the additional research this year, to our very committed donors. Our goal is to transition this terminal disease to one that is chronic, yet manageable.”

Additional metastatic breast cancer research awards for 2018 include:


#Cancerland in Memory of Champagne Joy presents Wei Tao, PhD, Instructor, Harvard Medical School/Brigham and Women’s Hospital “Multi-staged delivery system overcoming the physiological barriers for metastatic breast cancer (MBC) therapy”


The Friends and Family of Jenessa Shapiro, PhD in her memory, present Vera Donnenberg, PhD, FCP Associate Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine UPMC Hillman Cancer Center “Assays to determine optimal dosing and therapeutic effects of localized immunotherapy for established metastatic breast cancer to the pleura”

Xu Feng, PhD, Professor, University of Alabama at Birmingham “Development of Targeted Drugs for Treating Breast Cancer Bone Metastasis”

Elizabeth McDonald, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Radiology, University of Pennsylvania “In vivo visualization and quantification of pharmacodynamics response to PARPi therapy”

Michael Wendt, PhD, Assistant Professor, Purdue University “Enhancing anti-metastatic immunity through targeted inhibition of SHP2 phosphatase”

Thomas Westbrook, PhD, Professor, Baylor College of Medicine “Microenvironment response disparities of metastatic TNBC to multi-tyrosine kinase inhibition”

METAvivor Original 2018 grant recipients:


Ana Garrido-Castro, MD, Research Fellow in Medicine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, “Identifying predictive biomarkers of response to PD-1 inhibition in metastatic triple-negative breast cancer”

Gloria Echeverria, PhD, Post-Doctoral Fellow, MD Anderson Cancer Center “Elucidation and functionalization of transcriptomic heterogeneity of established multi-organ metastases in patient-derived xenograft models of triple-negative breast cancer”

Dee Lakhani Shravah - MetaBash presents Fransisca Leonard, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Godin Lab, Houston Methodist Hospital Research Institute “CRISPR-nanoparticle for macrophage reprogramming: New therapeutic strategy for breast cancer liver metastasis”

The Triangle Metsquerade in Loving Memory of Kristie Godwin Rolan presents Sophia Lunt, PhD, Assistant Professor Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Michigan State University “Targeting Sialic Acid Metabolism to Stop Metastatic Breast Cancer”

Petrocelli-SWFL Metsquerade presents Mark Headley, PhD, Assistant Member Clinical Research Division Faculty Member Immunotherapy Integrated Research Center, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center “Monocyte Contribution To Lung Metastasis Of Breast Cancer”

Monica Hill – Be Bold, Behold presents, Josh Neman, PhD, Assistant Professor Neurosurgery, University of Southern California “Chemotherapy and tau interplay permeabilize BBB and facilitate brain metastasis”

Rachel Stewart, DO, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky, “Characterizing Metastatic Breast Cancer Heterogeneity through Post-Mortem Tissue Collection”


The METAribbon Challengers present Julio Aguirre-Ghiso, PhD, Professor, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Otolaryngology, Oncological Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine “Targeting Intrinsic And Immune Mechanisms In Persistent Dormant Cancer Cells In Stage IV Breast Cancer”

Charles Clevenger, MD, PhD, Carolyn Wingate Hyde Endowed Chair in Cancer Research, Chair, Department of Pathology, Virginia Commonwealth University “Inhibition of breast cancer metastatic outgrowth with non-immunosuppressive cyclosporine”

Erin Remme Minneapolis Metsquerade presents Dorraya El-Ashry, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Minnesota School of Medicine “Eliminate breast cancer metastasis by targeting the tumor microenvironment”

Janet Funk, PhD, Professor Medicine, University of Arizona Cancer Center “Improving Survival in Stage IV Breast Cancer by Targeting Dormant Breast Cancer Cells in Bone”

Drive 4 Stage IV In Memory of Pam King presents Andrei Goga, MD, PhD, Professor, Dept. of Cell and Tissue Biology, University of California San Francisco “Targeting the MYC Pathway in Metastatic Breast Cancer”

Erik Nelson, PhD, Assistant Professor, Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Illinois “Targeting an immune-suppressive cholesterol metabolite in the treatment metastatic breast cancer.”

Chicago Metsquerade in Memory of Beth Janiak-Geoghegan presents Axel Schönthal, PhD, Associate Professor of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology, University of Southern California “Controlled Opening of the Blood-Brain Barrier to Achieve Therapeutic Access of Trastuzumab in HER2-Positive Brain Metastases”

The Davis-Quinn Northwest Arkansas Metsquerade presents Brad St Croix, PhD, Senior Associate Scientist, National Cancer Institute “Improving Immunotherapies for Advanced Metastatic Breast Cancer”

Dihua Yu, MD, PhD, Hubert L. & Olive Stringer Distinguished Chair in Basic Science, Professor and Deputy Chair, Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, MD Anderson Cancer Center “Combating Breast Cancer Brain Metastasis by Blocking CDK5 Driver Kinase Function”

Abbey Rapaport presents - Fiona Yull, PhD, Associate Professor, Vanderbilt School of Medicine “Macrophage-based immunotherapy for eradication of pre-existing breast cancer metastases”


METAvivor Research and Support Inc. is an Annapolis-based, 501(c)(3), volunteer-led, non-profit organization founded by metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients in 2009. Metavivor’s main focus 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 awarded 68 research grants totaling over $7.4 million. METAvivor is the only national organization with a peer-reviewed grant program aimed at exclusively funding MBC research, and 100% of all donations go to fund research. 

METAvivor also raises awareness of MBC, provides support for people living with this disease, and offers opportunities for others to help make a difference for the metastatic community. METAvivor has gained a rapidly growing following within the breast cancer community and has become a leader in its field. 

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