Siteman, Komen Advance Breast Cancer Research, Outreach

Oct. 8, 2007 – It’s something many wonder when they donate to charity: “Where does the money go?”

For those who participate in the Komen-St. Louis Race for the Cure, that question was answered during breast cancer awareness month as the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine hosted a “Research Review,” Thursday, October 4 at the Farrell Learning and Teaching Center.

“Thank you, Komen,” said Timothy Eberlein, MD, director of the Siteman Cancer Center. “What we are doing could not be done without you.”

The 2007 Race raised nearly $2.6 million in net proceeds. 75% of that total will stay in the St. Louis area to fund education, research, screening and treatment programs for the medically underserved. The Siteman Cancer Center is the largest recipient of local grants with seven Screening, Research and Education Program (STEP) Grants.

Barbara Monsees, MD, chief of breast imaging at Siteman, talked about the STEP grants including Komen funding that allows Siteman to screen almost 1,800 underserved, uninsured and low-income women through community outreach. Those ongoing efforts are essential as Graham Colditz, MD, DrPH, co-director of Prevention and Control at Siteman, presented statistics showing Missouri has high rates of late stage breast cancer in certain areas because of inadequate screening.

Nationally, Siteman is a large recipient as well with seven Komen National Research Grants and an additional Clinical Research Affiliate Funding Trials (CRAFT) Grant. Matthew Ellis, MB, BChir, PhD, Anheuser-Busch professor of medical oncology at Siteman, talked about several research programs made possible thanks to Komen funding.

For example, his Human and Mouse Linked Evaluation of Tumors (HAMLET) study, grafts a patient’s tumor in a mouse to see if the mouse copy behaves the same way as the original cancer in a clinical setting. New cancer drugs are already being tested in this model.

“The discussions today leads me to invite you all to participate in some ‘Pink Sky Thinking,’” said Dr. Ellis at the close of his presentation. “How can our organizations (Komen and Siteman) unite with others in the area to form a model to eradicate breast cancer in the St Louis region that can be replicated across the country?”

“We’re on the right track,” added Dr. Eberlein. “But there’s a lot of work left to do.”