This October, we’re proud to be partnering again with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation® (BCRF) to fund a research hero dedicated to finding a cure for breast cancer.

In partnership with our charitable guests last October, the Stage community of stores raised $375,000 to fully fund a BCRF researcher for 2019-2020 who is dedicated to identifying new targets for the treatment and prevention of triple negative breast cancer.

Powel H. Brown, MD, PhD, is a physician-scientist specializing in breast cancer treatment and prevention at The University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he is chair of Clinical Cancer Prevention. He has been a BCRF investigator since 2004.

“We do much better now at treating and detecting breast cancer, but it’s not good enough,” says Dr. Brown. “The goal is to keep women from getting breast cancer in the first place.”

Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Research

Dr. Brown’s current focus is conducting studies to identify novel targets for the treatment and prevention of breast cancer, particularly estrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast cancer. His team has conducted a BCRF-funded clinical trial of the kinase inhibitor lapatinib for the treatment of women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) breast cancer. The results will demonstrate whether lapatinib suppresses the growth of DCIS cells and will be used to plan future DCIS breast cancer clinical trials to prevent the development of invasive breast cancer.

Dr. Brown is also conducting preclinical studies of the signaling molecules in breast cancer with a particular focus on identifying the molecular drivers of triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC), an aggressive form of breast cancer with a high likelihood of spreading to other tissues (metastasizing).

Most subtypes of breast cancer contain proteins that serve as markers to help doctors decide what type of treatment will be most effective. Triple-negative breast cancers, however, do not contain any of these proteins. For this reason, there are few targeted treatment options available beyond chemotherapy.

Paving the Way for New Targeted Treatments

To date, Dr. Brown has discovered a protein (SOX9) that is a “master regulator” of breast cancer metastasis. These early studies may lead to new targeted treatments for triple-negative breast cancers.

Dr. Brown continues to conduct laboratory experiments that will inform the development of new therapeutic strategies to treat or prevent the spread of TNBC. He and his team are now attempting to develop a small molecule inhibitor—a type of drug that easily enters cells and may cause cancer cells to die.

About BCRF

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation® (BCRF) is dedicated to ending breast cancer by advancing the world’s most promising research. This year, BCRF is the largest private funder of breast cancer research worldwide, awarding $66 million to support 275 scientists at leading medical and academic institutions across 14 countries.

With the help and generosity of our guests, the Stage community of stores has raised over $700,000 for BCRF since 2014 and over $1 million since 2004. These donations have helped to enable BCRF to fund the best and brightest minds in science around the world, fueling nearly 24,000 research hours, tirelessly working towards breakthroughs in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship and metastasis.

You can be a HERo, too, by donating to BCRF in store or online, or purchasing our breast cancer awareness products during October.