There were just eight National Institutes of Health grants awarded in 2008 to researchers studying triple negative breast cancer, and only a few of them dealt specifically with the disease. Considering it causes one out of every four breast cancer deaths, the lack of research funding for TNBC seemed a little odd to a group of graduate students in UF’s College of Medicine.
After losing a dear friend, Mary Lou “NuNu” Miller, to triple negative breast cancer in September, the students decided to form the UF chapter of the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation. The group is joining the national foundation in its quest to promote awareness of the disease and raise funds for research to find a treatment.
TNBC is unique in that its cells lack receptors for estrogen, progesterone and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2. Because of the lack of receptors, this type of breast cancer doesn’t typically respond well to receptor-targeted treatments, which are generally considered the most effective way to treat breast cancer. TNBC is more prevalent in women in their 30s and 40s and has a high probability of spreading to the brain and spinal cord. It is also the only form of breast cancer that can occur in men.
To help raise money for research, UF TNBC will be holding two fundraisers during the spring semester in memory of Miller. The NuNu 5K Race will be held at 8:30 a.m. Jan 24 on the UF campus. The Mary Lou Miller TNBC Gator Gala will be held in March, in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom. The formal event will feature music, a silent auction and the presentation of the first annual UF TNBC Award for Research Excellence. All proceeds from these two events will go directly to the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation.
“With these fundraisers we hope to raise awareness about TNBC and support a wonderful nonprofit organization that wishes to promote not just awareness, but also research,” said Megan Greenlee, the marketing director of UF TNBC and a graduate student in the Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Science.
For more information or to register for the race and purchase tickets to the gala, visit UF TNBC’s Web site. If you are interested in sponsoring the race and gala or wish to donate time, money or items for the auction, more information can also be found on the Web site.