Cancer Researchers Receive Grant from Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

Posted: May 5, 2010 at 1:02 am, Last Updated: May 4, 2010 at 4:01 pm

By Marjorie Musick

Flanked by Avon Walk organizers, Vikas Chandhoke, dean of the College of Science, and scientists Lance Liotta and Emanuel Petricoin accept a check for breast cancer research.

Lance Liotta and Emanuel Petricoin III, professors of life sciences and co-directors of Mason’s Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine (CAPMM), received $150,000 from the 8th Annual Avon Walk held in Washington, D.C., last weekend.

The walk raised $6.5 million to advance access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer.

Liotta and Petricoin will use the money for their research to identify a panel of biomarkers (disease indicators found in tissue and bodily fluids) that can accurately distinguish very aggressive forms of breast cancer from less aggressive types.

Vikas Chandhoke, dean of Mason’s College of Science, was on hand to accept the award with Liotta and Petricoin.

Pioneers in the field of patient-tailored research and personalized medicine, Liotta and Petricoin hope that their research will help to make breast cancer a more manageable disease.

“A major question in breast cancer treatment and detection today is: What are the signatures that can detect and distinguish aggressive, fast growing tumors that metastasize and spread quickly from slower growing indolent tumors that don’t metastasize at all, or do so more slowly?” says Petricoin, who is also the principal investigator for the project that is being supported by this grant.

“This funding provides us with the ability to begin to use our novel reverse phase protein array technology to discover these new biomarkers.”

Marc Hurlbert, director of the Avon Foundation for Women Breast Cancer Crusade, announced during the closing ceremony more than $3.4 million in grants to nine local organizations, including included Mason. More grants are slated to be awarded throughout the year to breast cancer programs nationwide.

The Avon Walk Washington, D.C., is the second of nine Avon Walks this year. The event attracted more than 2,900 participants, including 240 breast cancer survivors. To participate, each walker raised a minimum of $1,800 in donations.

The Avon Foundation for Women, a 501(c)(3) public charity, raises and manages funds, which are awarded to local, regional and national breast cancer organizations to support five areas of the breast cancer cause: awareness and education, screening and diagnosis, access to treatment, support services and scientific research, all with a focus on the medically underserved.

To view a full list of award winners or for information about donating to the Avon Foundation for Women, see or call 800-541-WALK.

Write to gazette at