Avon Press OfficeKelly Hammel Lobel
The Progress for Patients program was launched in October 2001 when the
NCI received a $20 million pledge from the Avon Foundation to fund translational
research on breast cancer. The pledge is Avon’s largest single award ever.
The funds were raised by the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, which has generated
more than $200 million in the Unites States alone from 1993 to mid-year 2002.
Avon is one of the world's leading corporate supporters of the breast cancer
cause, with programs in nearly 50 countries, and the only one to fund the
whole spectrum of the breast cancer cause medical research, clinical
care, support services, education and early detection with a focus
on medically underserved women.
Applicants for the Progress for Patients grants were encouraged to include
minorities and underserved women in their studies. According to Jorge Gomez,
M.D., NCI, "the breadth of projects that we recommended for funding was truly
impressive, which made choosing the final grant awardees a very difficult,
but rewarding process."
Nine applications for the grants were received from the SPORE (Specialized
Programs of Research Excellence) program, which target all types of breast
cancer interventions. The $2.5 million in initial grants (of which Avon provided
$1.99 million and NCI provided $660,000) represents the first payment towards
the $20 million gift from Avon, which will be committed over the next four
years. Additional grants to fund early-phase clinical interventions at NCI-designated
cancer centers and SPOREs will be announced next year.
Each grant application was reviewed by a minimum of four reviewers, consisting
of several scientific reviewers, statisticians, and patient advocates, who
evaluated and scored each application. From these reviews, final recommendations
on funding were forwarded from NCI to the Avon Foundation for their concurrence.
“Avon is actively committed to finding the cure for breast cancer, as well
as improving the quality of treatment and access to care among medically underserved
women,” said Kathleen Walas, president, Avon Foundation. “In partnership with
the NCI, we believe we can help reverse historic disparities in healthcare
while greatly accelerating important research in prevention, detection and
treatment of breast cancer.”
Funding decisions, based on the rankings of the reviewed projects, were
approved by NCI Director Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D. "I'm extremely pleased
that the funding made possible by the Avon-NCI private-public partnership
will support well-designed research that includes minorities and the underserved.
This investment by Avon will help NCI to close the gap between discovery and
delivery in breast cancer research," von Eschenbach said.
In addition to the Progress for Patients funding, the Avon Foundation maintains
a comprehensive philanthropic program that supports junior investigators and
areas of great promise in research that are under-funded by other sources.
Included among these are nine NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers:
Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Comprehensive Cancer Center, Boston,
Mass.; University of California, San Francisco Comprehensive Cancer Center/SFGH;
Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Chicago,
Ill.; Chao Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California at
Irvine, Calif.; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Wash.; Herbert
Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, New
York, N.Y.; The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins,
Baltimore, Md.; University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center;
and University of Colorado Cancer Center, Denver. All institutions receiving
funds must commit a significant portion of those dollars to innovative new
programs to serve the medically underserved and reverse health disparities.
The initial Avon-NCI Progress for Patients grant awards are as follows:
For more information about cancer, visit the NCI Web site at
Attachment: The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade: Funding Access to Care and Finding a