Released jointly by San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center and UCSF
A $10 million gift to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation from the Avon Products Foundation will help fight breast cancer. The award is one of four to be announced October 9 in New York by CEO and Chairman of the Board Andrea Jung of the Avon Products Foundation.
Approximately 60 percent of the funds will be used by the San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center (SFGHMC) Breast Cancer Clinic to provide clinical services, including an expanded capacity for mammography. The hospital, through its foundation, will build a Womenâ€™s Imaging Center on its campus in 2002.
The money will be spent in pursuit of three primary goals: to include more women of color in research; to provide equal access to the best breast care for medically-underserved women; and to develop new methods of educating providers and the public in all aspects of breast care and treatment, according to the proposal submitted to the Avon Products Foundation by the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation and UCSF.
The remaining 40 percent will support the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Centerâ€™s research into causes and potential cures for breast cancer, according to the proposal.
"Equal access for indigent and low-income women is what this effort is all about," said SFGHMC Executive Administrator Gene Marie O'Connell, RN. "Poor women are dying of breast cancer at twice the rate of their affluent peers. This collaboration between the City, UCSF and the Avon Products Foundation will vastly improve survival rates. Itâ€™s a wonderful advance for women's health in San Francisco.â€?
â€śWeâ€™re delighted to receive this generous support of our investigation into the genetic and molecular predictors and workings of breast cancer,â€? said Frank McCormick, PhD, FRS, director of the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center and principal investigator for the Avon-funded studies. â€śOur collaboration with San Francisco General means not only can we better serve medically-underserved women, but we can broaden our research base, which adds tremendous value to our findings.â€?
â€śAs the company for women, Avon is actively dedicated to one of the most important issues in womenâ€™s health â€“ finding a cure for breast cancer, and providing access to care for the women who suffer with this devastating disease,â€? said Jung. â€śWith the newest gift, from funds raised by the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, we are continuing our efforts to help seek a cure for breast cancer and to provide disadvantaged women access to the vital care and services required for good health.â€?
This is the second grant from Avon to the UCSF Breast Oncology Program; the first grant of $2.2 million was made in March 2001. The program is internationally recognized, with major initiatives in epidemiology, genetics, biology, therapeutics, and clinical cancer care. It is the largest of the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Centerâ€™s multidisciplinary programs, comprising 69 faculty members who represent 16 academic specialties.
The ten-year old SFGHMC Breast Cancer Clinic is a collaboration between the San Francisco Department of Public Health, SFGHMC, UCSF, and private donors.
SFGHMC serves as the primary health care facility for San Franciscoâ€™s underserved and uninsured families, providing medical and psychiatric acute care services, emergency services, skilled nursing services, primary care, specialty outpatient, and substance abuse services. UCSF is affiliated with SFGHMC and has provided the hospitalâ€™s medical staff since 1885.
The Avon Products Foundation has two primary areas of giving: breast cancer and economic development for women and girls. The UCSF / SFGHMC gift is part of their Crusade Against Breast Cancer.
Avon Breast Cancer Crusade Funding Recipient
University of California, San Francisco Comprehensive Cancer Center
and the San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center Breast Cancer Clinic
The Avon Products Foundationâ€™s gift of $10 million to the partnership between San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center (SFGHMC) and University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) will support innovative projects for understanding, detecting and treating breast cancer. Patients will both benefit from and contribute to cutting edge research in breast cancer. Access to care and information for medically underserved and economically disadvantaged women will be expanded.
Through the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation a new Womenâ€™s Imaging Center will be built in 2002 at SFGHMC. The Center will house services to diagnose breast cancer and to educate women and their families about treatment and prevention.
The new Womenâ€™s Imaging Center will be outfitted with state-of-the-art digital mammography machines. This technology permits doctors to screen more women, diagnose more cancers at an earlier stage and therefore save more lives. Using the digital mammography equipment, UCSFâ€™s doctors at SFGHMC will be able to link electronically, share data and confer immediately with their colleagues at other sites.
SFGHMC patients will be able to participate in clinical trials and receive testing and counseling for genetic predisposition to breast cancer through the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Centerâ€™s Cancer Risk Program.
Approximately $4 million will support research approaches for preventing, understanding, detecting and treating breast cancer at the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center though the following initiatives:
Using high-speed genetic analysis technologies and novel cell culture models developed at UCSF to identify the genes and molecular events involved in the development and progression of breast cancer. These so-called molecular â€śfingerprintsâ€? will serve as powerful markers, or indicators, of early stages of the disease and will be used to predict the likelihood that early-stage cancer will progress to malignancy. They will also provide potential targets for the scientists to develop new therapies.
Research includes discerning the genes that modify an individual tumorâ€™s behavior, in terms of aggressiveness and response to therapies, which will allow researchers to improve detection and prognosis and guide treatment protocols for individual cancers. Discerning the genes may also allow scientists to monitor the efficacy of experimental therapies. A major part of the effort will be to expand the UCSF research database to include San Franciscoâ€™s heterogenous breast cancer community. Correlating the frequency of genetic mutations according to ethnic or genetic backgrounds may provide insights into the fundamental causes of breast cancer in all women and the variations in incidence that are seen in different ethnic groups as represented by Asian, Black, Caucasian and Hispanic populations.
Identifying genetic markers that indicate the susceptibility of individual tumors in early stages of breast cancer to currently approved and experimental therapeutics. These molecular fingerprints should have a major effect on clinical testing of new agents, as well as improved application of existing agents and protocols.
Developing new methods to improve breast cancer detection using molecular diagnostic techniques to identify precancerous and cancerous cells.
Examining the value of soy, versus tamoxifen, as a preventative agent in women at high risk for invasive breast cancer. Researchers will conduct a small trial in which pre-menopausal women who are at increased risk for developing breast cancer will be randomly assigned either soy or tamoxifen. A comprehensive analysis of potential molecular markers of invasive breast cancer will be used to study the impact of these agents. Determining the efficacy of these markers could have a major impact on prevention and treatment of breast cancer.
Eve Harris at UCSF/Mt. Zion