Article written by Department of Defense – Breast Cancer Research Program
On August 2-5, 2011 at the Orlando World Center Marriott, more than 1450 researchers, clinicians, breast cancer survivors, and advocates gathered at the 6th Era of Hope meeting, sponsored by the Department of Defense (DoD) Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP). The Era of Hope meeting is a unique forum for scientists, clinicians, breast cancer survivors (called consumer advocates within the BCRP), and the public to come together and discuss the latest findings in breast cancer research and future directions to eradicate this disease.
The 2011 Era of Hope meeting featured nearly 1,200 abstracts focusing on the BCRP’s breakthroughs in the prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer. The most current topics in the breast cancer community were discussed at the meeting, including disease risk and recurrence, metastasis, stem cells, novel therapies, improved imaging, vaccines, and health disparities.
Breast cancer advocate and Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition (DBCC) staff member, Cathy Holloway, was one of over 275 consumer advocates attending this meeting. She was invited to attend the Era of Hope meeting as a result of her prior participation as a consumer reviewer of research applications submitted to the DoD BCRP. By attending this meeting, Holloway had an opportunity to learn about the most recent gains in breast cancer research and can now share this information with her community. Holloway is the Director of Education & Survivorship at the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition where she runs the Peer Mentor Support Program and Clinical Trials Initiative along with other education and support programs for breast cancer survivors.
Some examples of the research reported at the meeting include:
- Thermally targeted delivery of peptide therapeutics
- Therapeutic eradication of DCIS progenitor cells
- Discovery of new genetic markers for patients at high risk for bone metastasis
- Genetic susceptibility for breast cancer in women of African Ancestry
- Dietary consumption during pregnancy and breast cancer risk reductions
- Development of vaccines to prevent recurrence
Since its inception in 1992, the DoD BCRP has become the second largest source of breast cancer research funding in the United States and has received over $2.68 billion in congressional appropriations, resulting in more than 10,000 unique awards that fulfill unmet needs in breast cancer research. Unlike other cancer research funding organizations, the BCRP is a pioneer in the inclusion of consumer advocates in every aspect of the research process. Since the program’s inception, more than 750 survivors have participated in the program, including setting the program’s vision, participating in the review of proposals, making funding recommendations, and aiding in the research process.
Through this approach of combined involvement, the BCRP enhances partnerships between the survivor community and scientists. The survivor’s unique perspective brings a sense of urgency to the program, ensuring the BCRP remains focused on its ultimate goal of eradicating breast cancer.
More information about the DoD BCRP is available at http://cdmrp.army.mil.