National Breast Cancer Coalition Awards Additional Seed Grant for Preventive Breast Cancer Vaccine

February 6, 2013

Dr. Paul Ewald, University of Louisville and Dr. Vladimir Belyi, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School to receive grant through the generous support of the National Philanthropic Trust

Washington, DC, February 6, 2013—Through the generous support of National Philanthropic Trust (NPT), the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) announced today that it has awarded a seed grant to Dr. Paul Ewald, Professor of Biology and Director, Program on Disease Evolution at the University of Louisville, and Dr. Vladimir Belyi, Assistant Professor at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. The researchers will take a systematic look through two sets of breast cancer genomes for evidence of infectious agents. Bioinformatic tools will be used to compare the presence of infectious agents in breast tumors with normal breast tissue. Researchers will then look at the biological mechanisms of the infectious agents to understand the relationships between these agents and breast cancer.

This seed grant is part of NBCC’s Artemis Project® for a preventive vaccine, which brings together a collaborative group of advocates and scientists to take a strategic, systematic yet broad approach to the development of a breast cancer vaccine within five years.

An earlier seed grant was awarded to  Dr. Paul Spellman and Dr. Joe Gray of Oregon Health and Science University to identify possible vaccine targets using existing and developing human genomic data within different breast cancer subtypes. The analysis will generate a prioritized list of about 50-100 potential breast cancer specific targets to be considered for incorporation into a preventive vaccine. Initial data from research for both seed grants will be presented at the Artemis Project® annual meeting to be held next month.

“I am grateful to NBCC and NPT for making available, through the Artemis Project®, a platform to explore the relationships between infectious agents and breast cancer so we can gain the necessary insights that will lead us to developing a preventive vaccine from breast cancer,” said Dr. Ewald.

“Dr. Ewald’s work in the evolution of infectious disease is truly innovative and visionary. That’s the kind of approach and exploration that we believe will help us get closer to knowing how to prevent breast cancer,” said NBCC President Fran Visco. “As we were with our first award of the Artemis Project® seed grants, we are grateful for the generous support we have received from the National Philanthropic Trust to help move this very important research forward.”

“I am proud that NPT can be part of this important work and hopeful that Dr. Ewald’s research will help push us closer to finding a preventative vaccine for breast cancer by 2020,” said NPT President and CEO, Eileen Heisman.

NBCC has set a deadline—Breast Cancer Deadline 2020®—for knowing how to end breast cancer by January 1, 2020. Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® is a strategic plan of action that focuses on primary prevention, stopping women from getting breast cancer, and understanding and preventing metastasis (the spread of cancer), which is responsible for 90 percent of breast cancer deaths.

The National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) was formed in 1991 with one mission: to end breast cancer. NBCC has accomplished much over its 20 plus years: bringing about unprecedented research funding to the worldwide scientific community, forging new collaborations to design research and set priorities, expanding access to information and care to underserved women, and launching unparalleled training programs to prepare advocates around the globe to work side by side with scientists, policy makers and health care providers.

Yet breast cancer continues to take lives. In 2013, more than 425,000 women worldwide will die of breast cancer. In the United States alone, 39,620 women and 410 men will die of breast cancer. To renew the sense of urgency to its mission and refocus global efforts on ending breast cancer and saving lives, the National Breast Cancer Coalition set a deadline and launched Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® to know how to end breast cancer by January 1, 2020. What does ending breast cancer mean? By January 1, 2020, we must understand how to prevent people from getting breast cancer in the first place and how to prevent them from dying from the disease.

About the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC)
The National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) is dedicated to ending breast cancer by January 1, 2020 through the power of grassroots action and advocacy. NBCC supports increasing funding for breast cancer research; monitors how those funds are spent; expands access to quality health care for all; and ensures that trained advocates influence all decision making that impacts breast cancer. Join NBCC, learn more and take action. Visit

About National Philanthropic Trust
NPT was founded in 1996 and manages primarily donor-advised funds. Since that time it has raised over $2.8 billion in charitable contributions and currently manages over $1 billion in charitable assets. NPT has made nearly 60,000 grants totaling $1.5 billion to charities all over the world and ranks among the 25 largest grant-making institutions in the United States. NPT publishes the Donor Advised Fund Report, which is a unique, annual compilation and analysis of charitable organizations that sponsor donor-advised funds. Visit