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Cancer Institute receives breast cancer research grant from Mary Kay Ash Foundation

Penn State College of Medicine is among the Mary Kay Ash Foundation’s 2022 cancer research grant recipients. The foundation announced $1 million in grants awarded to 10 individuals who are conducting groundbreaking research in cancers that primarily affect women. The grants fund innovative, translational research efforts to help with better detection, prognosis and treatment of cancer. Since 1996, the foundation has awarded more than $26 million to more than 265 researchers across the country.

Gail Matters, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, medicine and pharmacology, and her team received a grant to develop new tools to detect the early spread, or metastasis, of breast cancer. Additional team members include James Adair, professor of materials science and engineering, biomedical engineering and pharmacology at Penn State College of Engineering; Thomas Neuberger, director of the High Field Magnetic Resonance Imaging Facility at Penn State Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences; and Andrea Mastro, emeritus professor at Penn State Eberly College of Science.

“When cancer spreads, it adds an extra layer of challenge and difficulty to treatment,” said Matters, a Penn State Cancer Institute researcher. “By researching new ways to detect this spread early, we hope to improve the prognosis for people with these cancers.”

One in three women are diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, and more than 900,000 women were diagnosed in 2021, according to the American Cancer Society. As cancer is the second-leading cause of death in women according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Mary Kay Ash Foundation supports research into cancers affecting women.

The ten grant recipients were selected from a pool of more than 50 applications.

“The Mary Kay Ash Foundation is honored to support the work of tremendous cancer researchers around the country who are making great advances and contributions to their respective fields,” said Michael Lunceford, president of the foundation. “These grants represent so much more than a monetary donation; they represent our steadfast commitment to eradicating cancers affecting women and taking active steps toward one day finding a cure. It is our great honor to support this group of talented researchers’ efforts in pursuing life-saving work.”

Read a full list of grant recipients and learn more about select projects

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