I have known Susan Love since my fellowship, so it did not surprise me when she told me about the Army of Women, the Foundation’s novel program to accelerate translational research. I eagerly joined the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Committee and have witnessed the program grow by leaps and bounds! Contrary to the persistent refrain from researchers that they cannot find subjects, the Army of Women (AOW) quickly recruited over 373,000 female and male members, with and without breast cancer, eager to participate in research. In fact, I have been amazed at their willingness to not just fill out surveys or spit in a cup but also to undergo core biopsies, eat grapefruit, send in breast milk, undergo nipple aspirate fluid collection and even participate in aerobics! The AOW has helped some researchers reach their accrual goal in as little as one day. As one researcher who partnered with the AOW explained, “Online recruitment reaches a large amount of people in a very short amount of time. Volunteers clearly trust the Army of Women and are eager to participate in research.” To date the AOW has recruited for 75 studies both regionally and nationally, and more than 84,600 members have participated in studies that range from biomarker and genetic research to psycho-social and quality of life studies
The biggest complaint that we hear from members of the Army of Women is that there are not enough studies that need them. It can be difficult for researchers to cross the chasm from laboratory animals to humans but it is important. Laboratory animals can allow for more precise science but if the goal is for the findings to be applicable to humans, there comes a time when you have to do the research in humans. The AOW stands ready to help with coaching and assistance with the IRB process, recruitment and the best way to collect samples.
Please click here for more on the AOW’s successes – you will quickly see why I continue to stand with the AOW program as a proud Scientific Advisory Committee member and staunch advocate.
While May was National Cancer Research Month, the AOW celebrates cancer research everyday as they work directly with researchers and the public to move breast cancer beyond a cure to understanding cause and prevention. Click here to learn more about the Army of Women and how YOUR research can benefit from the accelerated recruitment possible via the Army of Women.
– Judy E. Garber, M.D., M.P.H.
Director, Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention, Dana Farber Cancer Institute; Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; and Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee Member