Nita J. Maihle, PhD, transferred the remaining $140K of her Susan G. Komen Post-Baccalaureate Training in Disparities Research Grant, “Evaluation of Novel Serum Biomarkers for Hispanic Women with Breast Cancer.”
Project Description: Dr. Maihle became familiar with the poor state of health care for Hispanic/Latina women diagnosed with breast cancer during her frequent visits to the University of Puerto Rico, in San Juan. Studies have demonstrated that Hispanic/Latina women more frequently die of their disease, often at a younger age. While no one knows why, whether resulting from infrequent or limited access to health care in general, new research suggests that the reason that the prognosis for these women is so poor is because they have a biologically different kind of breast cancer – one that is fed by different growth factor pathways. This award will fund the training of two young scientists who are committed to understanding the underlying reasons for these biological differences in breast cancer in Hispanics/Latinas, with the intention of eliminating this disparity. These trainees will learn what is known so far about risk factors for breast cancer among Hispanics/Latinas and will participate in a hands-on research study to develop a simple blood test that may one day be useful in diagnosing breast cancer months before it is detectable using today’s imaging methods. These trainees will be selected for participation in this new program based on their commitment to disparities in breast cancer research, as well as the effect such disparities have on their own families and communities.