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O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center receives record-breaking $1.05 million donation from BCRFA

  • January 15, 2020

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama has donated a total of $9.7 million to the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center since 1996.    

BCRFA Check 1Beth Bradner Davis, BCRFA Executive Director; Jill Carter, BCRFA President; and Barry Sleckman, M.D., Ph.D., director for the O'Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center The Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama presented its largest-ever donation of $1.05 million to the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Since its inception in 1996, the BCRFA has made an annual donation to fund O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center research efforts. The donation is a result of BCRFA’s fundraising efforts during the prior year, including sales of a special breast cancer research license plate, organizational events, and individual and community support. This year’s contribution brings the Birmingham-based organization’s cumulative total for breast cancer research at UAB to more than $9.7 million.

“We are extremely grateful for the generous efforts of the BCRFA and the community at large that works so diligently throughout the year with the sole purpose of supporting promising breast cancer research,” said Barry Sleckman, M.D., Ph.D., the director of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB. “Without the significant support of the BCRFA, we simply wouldn’t have a leading breast cancer research program that brings so many important, cutting-edge scientific discoveries to the patients of this state.”

BCRFA’s funding has provided the seed money for the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center and its collaborative partners to get off the ground. Breast cancer research projects have ranged from developing novel immunotherapeutic and metabolic approaches to identifying new drug targets, to developing more effective models for breast cancer survivorship. 
Pilot Grant award recipients for 2019 include:

BCRFA Scholar Award Winner:

  • Mick Edmonds, Ph.D., with Eddy Yang, M.D, Ph.D. – “A Novel SRC Inhibitor for the Treatment of Metastatic Breast Cancer”
BCRFA Collaboration Award Winners:
  • Randall Davis, M.D., with Suzanne Lapi, Ph.D., and Erica Stringer-Reasor, M.D. – “Advancing the Prognostic, Immunotherapeutic, and Imaging Potential of FCRL6 in Breast Cancer”
  • Troy Randall, Ph.D., with  Erica Stringer-Reasor, M.D., Ahmed Elkhanany, M.D., and Donald Buchsbaum, Ph.D., and Alex Rosenberg, Ph.D.  – “Identifying Neo-Antigen-Reactive T Cells in Breast Cancer Using Organoid Cultures”
BCRFA Innovation Award Winners:
  • Karim Budhwani, Ph.D. (CerFlux) – “Personalized Oncology Efficacy Test (POET)”
  • Natalie Gassman, Ph.D., and Michelle Schuler, Ph.D. (USA Mitchel Cancer Institute) – “Blockage of CHK1 and EGFR Signaling in Triple Negative Breast Cancer to Enhance Anti-Tumor Efficacy”
BCRFA Impact Grant Winners:
  • Rajeev Samant, Ph.D., and David Schneider, Ph.D. – “Unraveling a Novel Vulnerability of Breast Cancer”
  • Corinne Augelli-Szafran, Ph.D., Omar Moukha-Chafiq, Ph.D., and Rebecca Boohaker, Ph.D. (Southern Research) – “Development of Novel Clofarabine Analogs for Breast Cancer Therapy”

BCRFA Check 2BCRFA presents largest donations ever to breast cancer researchers at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB. “As a breast cancer survivor myself, I look at this as lifesaving work. I personally know how critical research is in finding new treatments,” said Jill Carter, president of the BCRFA Board of Directors. “Without the support of our sponsors, donors and community partners, this record-breaking donation would not be possible.”

Community support during 2019 included 33 Alabama fire departments that participated in the Pink Ribbon Project, selling T-shirts during October to raise funds and awareness, along with dozens of other businesses, schools, churches and individuals who used grassroots fundraising to raise money for breast cancer research. About half the total donation was also raised through the BCRFA specialty car tag sales, with 100 percent of proceeds going toward research. 

Several corporate and community partners of BCRFA include Tameron Automotive, the Thompson Family Foundation, Sirote & Permutt, the Alabama Power Foundation, Renasant Bank, Wind Creek Wetumpka, Protective Life Foundation, Thrivent Financial, Spectrum Reach, and iHeart Media, among many others. 

All BCRFA donations remain in Alabama to support research at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB. “As we are an academic medical institution that conducts cutting-edge research, our patients have access to the most advanced therapies available right here in Birmingham,” Sleckman said. “Bottom line — it matters where you go to get cancer treatment.”