GW cancer researchers receive Avon Foundation grant

By: Rachel Barker
Hatchet Reporter

Posted: 6/11/09

The GW Hatchet

A new grant worth hundreds of thousands of dollars is helping GW researchers discover new information about cancer.

Last month, the Avon Foundation gave $300,000 to a group of GW cancer researchers, led by Dr. Patricia Berg, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, to aid in breast cancer research.

"Dr. Berg's studies possess clear clinical translation potential. We are optimistic that the study's findings will advance our understanding of breast cancer," Marc Hulbert, director of the Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Crusade said in an e-mail.

Berg, who in the past has received grants from organizations such as the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, said her research was chosen for the grant as part of a competitive application process.

Berg said the grant would help fund research into BP1, a breast cancer marker known as beta protein 1 that was discovered by Berg's laboratory. BP1 is active in 80 percent of breast cancer cases, according to Berg's research. The grant from Avon will help researchers identify women who have the marker, Berg said.

Researchers hope to investigate whether the amount of BP1 in a person's body could be measured to determine whether a cancer treatment has been successful.

Berg said connections have also been made between BP1 and other forms of cancer, such as prostate cancer.

The Avon Foundation previously gave $500,000 to the GW Cancer Institute in 2008, a grant announced at the Institute's Fifth Annual Gala.