Conquer Cancer Foundation Announces CERP/ACRA Grant Recipients

Conquer Cancer Foundation Announces CERP/ACRA Grant Recipients

The Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, with support from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), is proud to announce the recipients of the 2015 Comparative Effectiveness Research Professorship (CERP) in Breast Cancer and the 2015 Advanced Clinical Research Award (ACRA) in Breast Cancer.

Comparative Effectiveness Research Professorship in Breast Cancer

Dawn L. Hershman, MD, MS, of Columbia University Medical Center, is the recipient of the 2015 CERP in Breast Cancer for “Reducing Overuse and Underuse to Improve the Quality and Safety of Breast Cancer Care.”

CERP in Breast Cancer is a grant supporting comparative effectiveness research in all aspects of breast cancer, including prevention, diagnosis, treatment, delivery of care, and health economics. The award helps outstanding researchers provide leadership and train future generations of researchers in this field.

Dr. Hershman has a long history of developing comprehensive multidisciplinary programs that study ways of improving cancer care delivery, reducing disparities, and designing studies to improve the quality of life and care in survivors of breast cancer. She has a strong track record in mentoring fellows, graduate students, and junior faculty in comparative effectiveness research, both with Columbia University and many outside institutions.

“Getting any grant from the Conquer Cancer Foundation is an enormous honor,” said Dr. Hershman, recipient of the 2002 Career Development Award and the 2007 ACRA in Breast Cancer grant. “The grants are reviewed by the top experts in the field and there are often many qualified applicants. I am humbled and very grateful to have this opportunity.”

Dr. Hershman and her research team will use funds from this grant to research reducing cancer care costs by reducing overuse of medical therapies. The grant will also fund research on increasing the value and quality of care by developing interventions to improve adherence to cancer therapies and improving cancer care delivery through interventions to increase generalizability and dissemination of clinical trial results.

Advanced Clinical Research Award in Breast Cancer

Priyanka Sharma, MD, of the University of Kansas Medical Center, is the recipient of the 2015 ACRA in Breast Cancer for “Evaluation of BRCAness phenotype as prognostic marker in triple-negative breast cancer.”

Since 2007, the ACRA has funded research on a variety of disease types, including breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, glioma, sarcoma, and hematological malignancies. This year’s ACRA in Breast Cancer goes to a mid-career investigator committed to original clinical breast cancer research with a patient-oriented focus.

Dr. Sharma is involved in clinical and translational research, as well as improving treatment outcomes for aggressive breast cancer subtypes like triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). She will use the grant funds to research TNBC and identify predictors of response and resistance to standard chemotherapy treatment.

“There is a critical need to develop markers that can identify patients who are at risk of recurrence after receiving standard chemotherapy,” Dr. Sharma said. “This knowledge is essential for appropriate patient selection and stratification in phase III studies of novel agents.”

As part of her research, Dr. Sharma will use a multiplex analytical platform that interrogates tumor genome, epigenome, and stroma to examine the overall phenotype of “BRCAness” as prognostic marker in triple negative breast cancer by utilizing already collected tissue and data from a large intergroup adjuvant trial.

“This award is a critical stepping stone which will provide the needed resources to continue my research activities in triple negative breast cancer,” Dr. Sharma said. “I plan to use the results generated from this translational work in applying for future federal funding with an ultimate goal of becoming an independently funded clinical and translational researcher in the field of breast cancer.”

The 2015 CERP in Breast Cancer and 2015 ACRA in Breast Cancer grants are generously supported by BCRF, a loyal supporter of the CCF grants and awards program since 2001.