We are about to kick off our 2010 research agenda. But before we do, we wanted to give you an update on our progress and tell you about some very intriguing new data. First, though, we want to send a huge “Thank You!” to the many volunteers who participated in the Foundation’s studies. Without you, none of this would be possible.

So, what can we tell you? We now have some results from our Correlation of Anatomy and Physiology (CAP) study, which is investigating the composition of the breast ducts. This study required us to recruit 100 women to come to the Foundation to have three milk ducts studied and lavaged and then return in six months for a second lavage procedure.  We recruited 108 women and 97 of them came back for the second procedure. This is an amazing “return” rate in the medical research field!  (Also, almost everyone who didn’t come back had a good reason for not being able to do—another amazing research phenomena!)

Our final results have confirmed our preliminary findings, and indicate that all of a woman’s breast ducts are not the same.  They differ in terms of the number of cells they contain, the types of cells that are in them, and their hormone levels. This has not been reported anywhere else, and we are currently writing a paper on our findings to submit to a medical journal. We are very excited about this work as our findings could have significant implications for how researchers perceive and study breast cancer prevention, detection, and treatment. Perhaps we need to think about the ducts in the breast the same way we do the fingers on our hand: some things are the same, but others are different.

We also had 100 women participate in our study that investigated the effects of pregnancy at different ages on gene expression in the breast and proteins detected in blood. Dr. Raj Lakshmanaswamy, the investigator at Texas Tech who is studying the specimens, has identified some interesting results and is currently seeking funding that will allow him to investigate these findings further. We will be inviting our volunteers to an event later this year where they can meet Dr. Lakshmanaswamy and learn more about the findings.

Lastly, we had 12 women participate in our physiology project. These women were given caffeine and anti-acid pills and then had their blood drawn and their breast lavaged every two to four hours over a 12-hour time period. This study revealed that women have very different rates of drug secretion in to the breast. We have asked a few women to come back to do a similar study that will look at caffeine again and other drugs. We also have submitted a grant to the California Breast Cancer Research Program. This funding would enable us to work with a mechanical engineer with expertise in porous media (structures with holes in them that fluid can get into) at the University of California, Riverside, to develop a computer model of how drugs get into the breast ducts, how long they stay in there, and when they get out.

We look forward to updating you on our progress!

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4 Responses to Foundation Research Update

  1. Bev Lowe says:

    I am always curious whether enough people respond to the call for participants. If not, then what happens to the study–does it proceed with fewer participants? Is there a way to keep us updated of the progress?

  2. Marilyn Miller says:

    What about calcification tumors?
    What about the latest study about aspirin? I’m not allowed to take aspirin, just non-aspirin because of my breast cancer.
    Lastly, when will your new edition of your book be out?
    Has there been any progress in blood tests identifying cancer in the body?
    Thanks for all you do!

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