The Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama (BCRFA) today announced that it will fund two grants at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at University of Alabama at Birmingham. These 2020 grants are a part of the O’Neal Invests program.
Support for the research projects — “RANK Signaling Pathways in Breast Cancer Development” by Xu Feng, Ph.D. and Douglas Hurst Ph.D. and “Combinatorial Genetic Immunotherapy and RANKL Antagonism for Breast Cancer” by Selvarangan Ponnazhagan, Ph.D. — will total $320,000 over the next two years. The initial $160,000 was awarded at a check presentation on August 14, 2020.
“We are thrilled to continue our support of vital breast cancer research at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB,” said Beth Bradner Davis, executive director of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama. “Although COVID-19 has altered our approach, we are committed to ensuring that research remains funded. Diagnoses don’t stop during a pandemic. We must keep supporting research to aid patients here in Alabama and around the globe in accessing better treatment and therapy options.”
The inaugural grant cycle of the O’Neal Invests program took place in Spring 2020. The committee received 57 grant applications, and ultimately, seven were selected as fundable projects. The grants vary across the spectrum of cancer research, with two of the seven focusing specifically on breast cancer research.
“We are incredibly thankful for the support of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama,” said Dr. Barry P. Sleckman, Director of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Organizations like the BCRFA provide necessary funding to initiate important projects that reveal new paradigms in our understanding of cancer.”
Previously this year, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama announced a record-breaking investment in the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center and their collaborative partners, totaling $1.05 million. That contribution brought the organization’s cumulative investment in breast cancer research in Alabama to almost $10 million.
“These critical projects often translate to cancer care that improves outcomes in patients with cancers that have been difficult to treat. Moreover, the work of organizations like the BCRFA raises awareness to promote vital initiatives in cancer prevention and cancer screening,” Sleckman said.