A team of researchers from Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center has been awarded a five-year, $12.1 million Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant in breast cancer from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). This is the third renewal of Mayo Clinic’s breast cancer SPORE grant.
SPORE grants promote interdisciplinary research to speed research findings to patient care and to determine the biological basis for observations made in people with cancer or at higher risk for cancer.
To earn these grants, institutions must demonstrate a high degree of collaboration among top scientists and clinicians and excellence in translational research.
The Mayo Clinic Breast Cancer SPORE principal investigator is Matthew Goetz, M.D., an oncologist who holds the Erivan K. Haub Family Professorship in Cancer Research Honoring Richard F. Emslander, M.D. Dr. Goetz is deputy director of translational research for the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center and co-leader of the Cancer Center’s Women’s Cancer Program. He has led the Breast Cancer SPORE program since 2014 and has been part of the SPORE research team since 2005.
“I am extremely grateful for this award from the National Cancer Institute and honored to have the opportunity to continue our critical work to translate breast cancer research into prevention, risk assessment and new treatments,” Dr. Goetz says.
The Mayo Clinic Breast Cancer SPORE program includes three projects:
- A project that will study genes related to cancer risk and whether mutations in those genes increase the risk of breast and other cancers. It also will study whether those genes affect response to cancer treatments. This project is led by Fergus Couch, Ph.D., of Mayo Clinic, and Susan Domchek, M.D., of the University of Pennsylvania.
- A study of the development of a hormone targeting drug, Z-endoxifen, for treatment of premenopausal hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. This project is led by Dr. Goetz, Matthew Schellenberg, Ph.D., and John Hawse, Ph.D.
- A project focused on developing a vaccine to prevent breast cancer. This project is led by Amy Degnim, M.D., Derek Radisky, Ph.D., and Keith Knutson, Ph.D.
Female breast cancer represents 15% of all new cancer cases in the U.S., according to the National Cancer Institute. Approximately 12.9% of women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point during their lifetime. In 2019, there were an estimated 3,771,794 women living with female breast cancer in the U.S.
The Breast Cancer SPORE program also supports start-up research that may advance to full SPORE research projects and an effort to identify investigators with the greatest potential to develop independent translational research programs.