Published March 14, 2013 By Dr. Susan Love
It’s March and I am getting stronger by the moment and more impatient about our mission to find the cause of breast cancer! First off, I want to report that we have finished recruiting for our Bacterial and Viral Diversity study. For those of you who can’t remember (like me), or did not read about it previously, the Bacterial and Viral Diversity study is an exploratory research project to see what bacteria and viruses live in the breast ducts. The Army of Women performed once again, helping us to recruit the 40 women needed in record time. We collected nipple aspirate fluid from 20 women who have had breast cancer and 20 who have not. Since we are looking for bacteria and viruses, we did all our collections with surgical sterility making sure we also tested what bacteria and viruses were normally living on the woman’s skin. These samples will now all be analyzed to document all the DNA and RNA present in the samples. The non human DNA and RNA will then be compared to databases from bacteria and viruses and we should end up with a list of everything in there!
We call this exploratory because no one, to our knowledge, has done this before and we have no idea what we will find. We will compare the samples from women with cancer to that of the women without to see if there is a difference. Once we have some candidates then we can test them directly in another group of women. I am very excited about this work as it is just the kind of novel research that is needed if we are going to find the cause of breast cancer. And never fear, I will keep you abreast of our findings (all puns intended!)
Research like this costs money, however and that leads me to Walk with Love 2013! Every year we do a 5K run/walk in the Pacific Palisades to raise money for research. It is our main fundraiser and a lot of fun for all ages. This year it will be on May 19th.
Finally as we celebrate Women’s history month I encourage you to make breast cancer history by signing up your friends and family for the Army of Women and Health of Women Study! These landmark programs are our first step in democratizing research so that it goes beyond petri dishes and rats and mice to solving real disease in real women.
We can end breast cancer if we all join together and demand it!