Second Collaborative Summit on Breast Cancer Research: 2013

The Second Collaborative Summit on Breast Cancer Research brought together 105 experts from 47 organizations representing the nonprofit, advocacy, government, and pharmaceutical sectors to discuss progress, gaps, and opportunities in breast cancer research and care. The Avon Foundation, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, and others convened the first Summit in 2007.

The 2013 Summit included discussion, dialogue, and formal presentations on the following topics:

  • Updates from the leading nongovernmental funding and advocacy organizations
    • American Cancer Society, Avon Foundation for Women, Breast Cancer Research Foundation, National Breast Cancer Coalition and Susan G. Komen for the Cure
  • Research updates on genomics and inflammation in breast cancer
  • New approaches in cancer research and clinical trials with a special focus on unmet needs including metastatic, triple negative, and inflammatory breast cancers
  • Discussion of quality of life, survivorship, patient-centered and palliative care
  • Updates on research into the role of the environment in breast cancer etiology
  • Models of international breast cancer research and collaboration
  • Barriers and opportunities in translation and implementation

Opportunities discussed at the 2013 Summit with the potential for future collaboration:

  • Supporting opportunities for “open, collaborative science,” where teams of teams move the field forward and do not rely on the historic “guild of experts” model
    • Need to re-work rewards system
    • Need to fund the “prize” not the staff position
    • Need to find new way to cite authors (like credits of a movie), new ways to measure success and new metrics for promotion in academic systems
  • Identifying new projects in metastatic breast cancer
    • Does recurrence/metastasis offer an opportunity to study environmental exposures?
    • Understanding spread of cancer cells out of the breast to other parts of the body and targeting the spread of cancer cells with new drugs (current drugs tend to target the tumors and measure tumor shrinkage as an end point. Tumor shrinkage may be an insufficient marker.)
  • Identifying new projects studying the role of the environment in breast cancer cause
    • Need to study key windows of susceptibility
      • Prenatal, puberty, pregnancy
  • Funding of a few “big data” projects through SAGE Bionetworks
    • Breast Cancer Challenge 2
      • One or more case control studies to determine patients with, or without, residual risk to better guide enrollment into future clinical trials. The Case Control studies could be broken into categories based on ER, or HER2, or neither (TNBC).
  • Funding of a few “big data” projects through SAGE Bionetworks (continued)
    • A PPP to clinically validate (Ph IIa) pioneer targets in breast cancer
      • Arch2POCM – target is KDM4B

The Summit also highlighted progress since 2007 that included new, first-ever reports (ICRP Report and HRA publication) from two robust databases that contain pooled grant information from funding agencies.  Grants in these databases are coded in a common, scientific outline.  The databases — the International Cancer Research Partnership (ICRP) database and the gHRAsp database of the Health Research Alliance — allow funding agencies to use grant data to develop new strategies, identify synergies, and avoid duplication.

The Summit included highlights of programs co-funded by several funding agencies, including an update from the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium, composed of 16 academic institutions working collaboratively on smart, fast and targeted clinical trials. To date, the Consortium has launched 26 trials, enrolling 1,072 patients on therapeutic trials and 1,310 patients on non-therapeutic trials such as stage IV registry and a retrospective trial examining MRI prediction of pre-operative response.

Several new programs and activities since 2007 were also highlighted and discussed, including an update on the ISPY-2 trial; the IOM Report on Breast Cancer and the Environment; the Breast Cancer Deadline 2020 and the Love/Avon Army of Women.

Attendees will continue to engage in dialogue to define new opportunities for collaboration and new approaches to accelerate breast cancer research.