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Oregon Health & Science University receives $100,000 grant from Kay Yow

Oregon Health & Science University

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IMAGE: This is Pepper Schedin, Ph.D., at Oregon Health & Science University. view more

Credit: Oregon Health & Science University

Portland (October 2, 2014) - The Kay Yow Cancer Fund®, in partnership with the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and The V Foundation for Cancer Research, has awarded a $100,000 young women's breast cancer research grant to the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).

The $100,000 grant will be awarded to the Knight Cancer Institute to continue research on the potential effectiveness of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as ibuprofen or aspirin, in the prevention of metastasis of breast cancer in young women. The Kay Yow Cancer Fund is privileged to work in collaboration with The V Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee to identify and review grant proposals supporting women's cancer research.

Susan Donohoe, Executive Director of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, will visit the OHSU campus on October 2 to meet with Brian Druker, M.D., Director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, and Pepper Schedin, Ph.D., a breast cancer researcher with the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and professor in OHSU's Department of Cell, Developmental and Cancer Biology. The grant will contribute to the Knight Cancer Challenge campaign, which was launched in 2013 after Nike Co-founder Phil Knight and his wife, Penny, pledged to give $500 million for cancer research at the Knight Cancer Institute if OHSU raised an equal amount by February 2016.

"It is an honor to be selected for this grant and to be recognized by a group that is devoted to gaining a better understanding of cancers that impact women's health," Schedin said. "The funding provides a level of flexibility that will enable us to do more innovative research."

An estimated 12,000 to 15,000 young mothers in the U.S. and 180,000 worldwide are diagnosed each year with breast cancer within five years of giving birth. Schedin's research has traced the increased cancer risk in this population of women due to changes in breast tissue following lactation. This immune response promotes cellular processes that increase breast cancer incidence and metastasis.

With the funding from the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, Schedin will be able to investigate the impact of anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, on the unique biology of women's bodies when they are post-pregnancy. The goal of this work is to develop a postnatal pill that reduces the risk of cancer occurrence and progression.

"There is an unmet need for research focused on breast cancer in young women," Donohoe said. "Young breast cancer patients have a significantly poorer prognosis than older patients and are three times as likely to die of the disease. Research programs such as this one are critical as we continue to search for the cure."

"Coach Yow was very specific in her direction that the Kay Yow Cancer Fund support research to enhance the quality of life of those individuals battling cancer and to help find a cure," said Stephanie Glance, Columbia University Head Women's Basketball Coach and President of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. "This research grant will continue the legacy of Coach Yow and the Fund's mission of supporting women's cancer research."

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About the Kay Yow Cancer Fund

The Kay Yow Cancer Fund was officially founded on Dec. 3, 2007, from the vision of the organization's namesake Kay Yow, former NC State University head women's basketball coach. Coach Yow was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 before succumbing to the disease on Jan. 24, 2009. The Kay Yow Cancer Fund is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization committed to being a part of finding an answer in the fight against women's cancers - all women's cancers - through raising money for scientific research, assisting the underserved and unifying people for a common cause. For more information on the Kay Yow Cancer Fund or to make a donation, please visit http://www.KayYow.com.

About the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University

The Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University is a pioneer in the field of personalized cancer medicine. The institute's director, Brian Druker, M.D., helped prove it was possible to shut down cells that enable cancer to grow without harming healthy cells. This breakthrough has made once-fatal forms of the disease manageable and ushered in a new generation of targeted cancer therapies. The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center between Sacramento and Seattle - an honor earned only by the nation's top cancer centers. It offers the latest treatments and technologies as well as hundreds of research studies and clinical trials. The institute continues to build upon its scientific and clinical leadership with both public support and private philanthropy. Most recently, the institute's plans to advance the early detection of cancer inspired Nike Chairman Phil Knight and his wife Penny to pledge a $500 m illion donation to the Knight Cancer Institute if OHSU raises an additional $500 million as part of a two-year fundraising campaign.

About Brian Druker

Brian Druker, M.D., is director of the Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute, associate dean for oncology in the OHSU School of Medicine, JELD-WEN Chair of Leukemia Research at OHSU and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.

About The V Foundation

The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State basketball coach and ESPN commentator. The Foundation awards peer-reviewed grants through a competitive awards process strictly supervised by a Scientific Advisory Board. For more information on The V Foundation, please visit http://www.jimmyv.org.

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