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Thanksgiving is here, and we at Dr. Susan Love Foundation for Breast Cancer Research have so many things to be thankful for. Every year, at the top of that list is YOU: the women and men who selflessly donate their time, information, and samples–everything from saliva and urine, to nipple aspirate fluid and breast milk, to blood and breast tissue samples–all in support of breast cancer research. As Research Manager for the Army of Women® program, I especially am grateful for the dedicated members who volunteer for our studies, share our emails with family members and friends, and spread the word about the Foundation, our programs, and the importance of participating in research. The Army of Women is a tremendous resource to breast cancer researchers. With your help, we have already recruited for 89 breast cancer research studies, covering a wide range of topics. But we don’t plan to stop there! New researchers are learning about us every day and we are still growing our membership to ensure that they can find as many participants as they need. Whether you have been with us since the Army of Women launched six years ago or you just joined our family today, we are so thankful for your support. One of the first Army of Women studies you volunteered for was the Breast Milk Study. This study, conducted by a team at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is investigating the breast cells normally found in breast milk to see if there are any epigenetic (cellular and physiological traits not caused by changes in DNA) differences between women whose breast biopsies turn out to be healthy and those whose biopsies show a problem, such as cancer. Learning more about these epigenetic differences may help researchers develop a way to provide women with information about their breast cancer risk. Not only did the Army of Women step up to help the research team reach their participation goal, they surpassed it! Due in large part to your incredible interest and willingness to participate, the team was able to obtain additional funding to recruit even more women and increase the ethnic diversity of the study population. A total of 428 Army of Women members volunteered to participate, and the study recently closed. Stay tuned for a research results webinar in 2015. You can view the 2012 webinar in which the team shared their preliminary results. Several Army of Women research studies are investigating genetic factors that increase breast cancer risk. It is so important to study diverse populations to find out more about genetic mutations that may be specific to certain groups of people. In January 2014, we launched a study being conducted by researchers at City of Hope in Duarte, CA, designed to learn more about breast cancer in Hispanic women. Even though breast cancer is the most common cancer, causing the most cancer deaths among Latinas, very little research has been done on hereditary breast cancer among Hispanics. The research team has been enrolling women from Los Angeles County and will soon expand their search to other locations. More than 70 Army of Women members are already signed up for this study, and more are needed. Learn more about the Genomics and Breast Cancer in Hispanic Women study, share it with your friends, and watch for our eblast when the team expands this important study. Whether a researcher is enrolling people who have never been diagnosed with breast cancer, people with a personal history of the disease, metastatic breast cancer patients, or anyone in between, we know we can count on the Army of Women to find the right people–and find them quickly. More studies are on the way, so please keep an eye out for our Army of Women e-blasts. For a listing of our current studies, please visit our Army of Women website. Thanks to YOU, our partners in our mission to achieve a future without breast cancer, Dr. Susan Love Foundation for Breast Cancer Research and teams of researchers all over the U.S. are making progress towards that goal. We are excited to continue this groundbreaking work in 2015 and hope you, your family, and your friends will join us. Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. Leah Wilcox Eshraghi

 

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