Susan G. Komen® Announces $31 Million In 2017 Funding for 98 Breast Cancer Research Grants, With Focus On Aggressive and Metastatic Cancers


Susan G. Komen, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, today announced 2017 research funding of $30.7 million for 98 research grants, with a focus on new treatments and understanding of the most lethal forms and stages of breast cancer. Komen funding to institutions in 27 states and 8 countries also includes research into new screening technologies, treatments for metastatic and aggressive types of breast cancer and disparities in breast cancer outcomes.

For the first time, beginning in October, Komen is also giving members of the public the opportunity to directly fund specific research by participating in a crowdfunding initiative on Komen’s website,

“We are focused on new treatments, ways to overcome drug resistance in breast cancer patients, and a better understanding of how and why breast cancer spreads, so we can better treat metastatic breast cancer or prevent it all together,” said Ellen Willmott, interim president and CEO of Susan G. Komen. “This focus on aggressive and metastatic disease is the foundation of our Bold Goal to reduce breast cancer deaths by 50 percent by 2026.”

Metastatic breast cancer – which is breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body like the brain, liver, bones or lungs – is responsible for almost all of the nation’s 40,000 annual breast cancer deaths. More than 154,000 people are living with metastatic disease in the U.S. today. By targeting metastatic disease (the focus of more than 41 percent of Komen’s 2017 research investment), Komen is hoping to reduce breast cancer deaths dramatically in the U.S.

This year’s funding also includes $17.6 million to early-career investigators. “Funding for early-career researchers ensures a continuum of breast cancer research, across generations, which is critical in a time of tightening federal research dollars,” Willmott said.

Komen’s 2017 portfolio includes*:

  • 37 grants expanding our knowledge of metastatic breast cancer and how to better treat it or prevent it;
  • 37 grants looking into novel treatments for aggressive types of breast cancer (specifically, triple negative, inflammatory breast cancer, luminal B, and ER-positive recurrent breast cancer).
  • 59 grants focused on new therapies, including 10 for targeted therapies and 20 for drug development
  • 24 investigating drug resistance (why drugs stop working in some patients)
  • 9 on disparities in breast cancer outcomes and 2 involving Big Data

*Eds Note: Numbers may add to more than 98 because individual studies may be classed in more than one category.

Making a Personal Impact – Crowdfunding

This fall, Komen is making it possible for supporters to make a personal impact on breast cancer research through a new crowdfunding initiative supporting specific Komen mission programs. Beginning in October – National Breast Cancer Awareness Month – Komen will highlight four metastatic breast cancer researchers and encourage donations to their specific grants, with an opportunity to have donations matched.

“Our community is always eager to make a personal connection and to know their impact on breast cancer research,” Willmott said. “We hope that our friends and donors will come forward to help support these research grants in October, or to support our work in other ways.”

Komen’s 2017 research program brings Komen’s total research investment in breast cancer to more than $956 million since opening its doors in 1982, the largest of any nonprofit outside the U.S. government. In addition to research, Komen and its nationwide network of Affiliates serve women and men in thousands of communities. To date, more than $2.1 billion has been invested in community programs that provide education, screening and treatment support.