The Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition last week presented a $50,000 research grant to Fox Chase Cancer Center.
Pat Halpin-Murphy, a Mayfair native who founded the breast cancer coalition in 1993 and serves as its president, presented the check to Dr. Jonathan Chernoff, cancer center director.
The grant will fund Chernoff’s research into two specific genes on chromosome 11 that become amplified in many breast cancer patients. Chernoff said he’s seen promising preliminary data that points to new strategies for treating breast cancer.
Chernoff’s lab focuses on uncovering the roles of protein phosphorylation in governing two fundamental aspects of cancer biology — cell proliferation and cell movement.
“We’ve made tremendous strides,” Chernoff said, cautioning that a lot of work remains.
Halpin-Murphy is a breast cancer survivor, while Chernoff’s late mom beat the disease twice. Halpin-Murphy shared a statistic that one in eight American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Research is expensive, she said, but worth the investment.
The coalition has contributed more than $4.3 million to breast cancer researchers in Pennsylvania since its inception. Halpin-Murphy recalls presenting the first research grant to Fox Chase during a ceremony that attracted then-Gov. Tom Ridge and his wife Michele.
“We’re proud to partner with them,” Halpin-Murphy said of FCCC researchers.
In addition to providing funding for researchers, the coalition works to help women access free mammograms and MRIs and sends “Friends Like Me” care packages to newly diagnosed women. Its mission remains the same as in 1993 – “to help find a cure for breast cancer NOW … so our daughters don’t have to.”
“The work Dr. Chernoff is doing helps move us toward that goal,” Halpin-Murphy said. ••