Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has received a $5 million gift from the Benderson Family of Sarasota, Florida, that will accelerate research in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) and strengthen Dana-Farber’s capabilities for treating this disease. The gift establishes the Benderson Family Program for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer and represents the largest philanthropic donation to TNBC research at Dana-Farber.
Under the direction of Eric P. Winer, MD, Chief of the Division of Breast Oncology in the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber, Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Faculty Advancement, and Thompson Chair in Breast Cancer Research, the gift provides the resources for Dana-Farber to expand a novel comprehensive TNBC research registry and establish a new endowed fund, the Benderson Family Endowment for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Research. The resulting robust TNBC cohort will provide the data and samples necessary to conduct vital laboratory experiments, identify potential drug targets, and design clinical trials for the more effective treatment and improved outcomes for patients with TNBC. Additionally, the Bendersons’ gift will support capital projects and strategic initiatives under the leadership of Dana-Farber President and Chief Executive Officer Laurie H. Glimcher, MD.
Eric P. Winer, MD
Laurie H. Glimcher, MD
A Treatment Challenge
Despite recent advances forged by physician-scientists at Dana-Farber and elsewhere, new and novel treatment approaches for treating TNBC are needed. Currently, chemotherapy remains the backbone of treatment, but with the ongoing clinical trials at Dana-Farber, new therapies such as immunotherapies, antibody drug conjugates, and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors are being tested for the treatment of this type of cancer.
TNBC describes breast cancer cells that do not have estrogen, progesterone, or HER2 receptors. TNBC constitutes approximately 10% to 15% of all breast cancers and is usually more aggressive than estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer and HER2-positive breast cancer. This disease is often found in younger women (under 40 years old) and in women of African American or Hispanic background. The disease may also be associated with having an inherited mutation in the BRCA1 gene.
“Many women diagnosed with TNBC today will do very well with existing treatments,” said Dr. Winer. “But there are still far too many women with TNBC who urgently require new and better therapies. The incredibly generous support from the Benderson Family allows our researchers to build on recent advancements in TNBC, with the goal of delivering novel and promising treatment strategies to more patients.”