October is here and breast cancer awareness is once again being brought to the forefront of people’s minds. At Stage, breast cancer is our business every single day of the year, which is why we wanted to do even more this year. We are thrilled to announce our new partnership with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). For the next year, we will be channeling a percentage of sales from our exclusive BCRF x Stage collection to help support the research they fund… research that has led to the advancements in breast cancer treatment that have impacted and saved so many lives.
BCRF seeks out the most promising ideas and innovations in cancer research, supporting the scientific minds behind the ideas, providing each doctor with the funding they need to pursue their research with flexibility. BCRF encourages the open exchange of ideas and non-competitive collaboration. Their only goal is to put an end to breast cancer. That’s something we can definitely get behind.
“Breast cancer has become the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the world, surpassing lung cancer for the first time. It’s a milestone we never hoped to reach and greatly underscores the urgency for breast cancer research to improve prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship,” said BCRF President and CEO Myra Biblowit. “It is our sole mission to eradicate this disease but we can’t do it alone. We’re grateful for this partnership with Stage to help us bring the end of breast cancer into focus, together.”
While every trial and advancement in breast cancer is exciting, here is some revolutionary breast cancer research we’d like to highlight:
Prevention: Breast Cancer Vaccines
Thanks to COVID-19, we have become well-acquainted with mRNA vaccines. While these types of vaccines are currently being used in infectious disease, they have long been studied by cancer researchers to see if they can also play a role in disrupting the growth of cancer tumors, alerting the immune system to “spikes” on cancer tumor cell proteins that the body might have otherwise missed. BCRF researchers are studying this vaccine technology and others (those using tumor-associated antigens and neoantigens) for potential use in breast cancer. For more on breast cancer vaccines, visit this page at bcrf.org.
Life After Cancer/Quality of Life: Psychology and Survivorship
When you get a breast cancer diagnosis, experience treatment, or continue to live with cancer, you may feel like your life is over. You may be afraid to live as you did pre-cancer. BCRF researcher, Dr. Annette L. Stanton, understands that the quality of life after breast cancer matters. Why is it important? “Because living well is as important as surviving,” she says, and we know, firsthand, that this is as true a statement as has ever been made. With a “no one size fits all” approach, Dr. Stanton’s research has focused on survivors’ depression, cognitive issues like “chemo brain,” and the disparity in the mortality of Black women diagnosed with cancer in comparison to non-Hispanic and white women.
Here are a few tips from Dr. Stanton’s research on how to better live after cancer:
- Stop being the caregiver and put your own needs first.
- Ask for help from friends, family, and your doctors.
- Don’t pretend or suppress: If you feel badly, tell people you aren’t feeling great. If you are scared, don’t hide it.
- Find solutions that work for you: Start exercising again if that’s what your body needs. Find a support group or a therapist if you are feeling alone or overwhelmed.
Metastatic Cancer: New treatment for HER2
For years, our breast cancer pathology was deemed either HER2 positive or negative, but research has found that 55% of HER2-negative cancers actually contain low levels of HER2.
Earlier this year, researchers got a standing ovation at a scientific conference after reporting results from the third phase of DESTINY-Breast04 trial for the drug trastuzumab deruxtecan (T-DXd/Enhertu®), a HER2-specific antibody-drug conjugate. Findings showed that women with Stage 4 breast cancer containing low levels of HER2 who were treated with T-DXd had tumors that stopped growing for five months longer than chemotherapy alone, increasing the length of survival in those patients.
How does it work? T-DXd targets HER2, seeping through the tumor cell walls, and killing surrounding cancer cells as well.
Added bonus? T-DXd proved to work regardless of cancer subtype: Hormone receptor (HR)–positive and –negative, and triple-negative patients were included in this study.
A number of BCRF researchers worked on the DESTINY-Breast04 trial, and BCRF is supporting research to better detect and treat HER2-low breast cancer.
For more good news in breast cancer advancement and innovation, please visit bcrf.org/blog.
To help us all get closer to eradicating breast cancer, shop the Stage x BCRF collection or donate directly to BCRF here.