RALEIGH, N.C. – Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, today announced a $500,000 investment from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) for a new collaborative research grant as part of the Komen Metastatic Breast Cancer Collaborative Research Initiative. The funding helped Komen raise close to $1 million for the initiative.

Blue Cross NC’s investment will help fund grants for researchers at both Duke Cancer Institute and the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center for the purpose of collaborating on research into the tragic disparities in mortality between Black women living with stage IV, metastatic breast cancer (MBC), and their white counterparts.

“We are honored to support research aimed at better understanding and treating metastatic breast cancer, particularly in African American women,” said Dr. Kia Williams, associate medical director at Blue Cross NC. “This collaborative effort is a significant step towards addressing the medical, socioeconomic and systemic contributors to the disparities in metastatic breast cancer outcomes.”

The Komen Metastatic Breast Cancer Collaborative Research Initiative was launched in 2019 to bring together Komen and researchers at two of the world’s most renowned cancer centers – Duke Cancer Institute and the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center – to develop treatments that will help people living with MBC to live longer, better lives. Both institutions are committed to understanding and solving the devastating consequences of MBC and the disparities that result in Black women and men.

“The generous support of Blue Cross NC brings us closer to finding breakthrough discoveries to end MBC for everyone,” said Pam Kohl, Development Director, MBC Research Initiative. “We are grateful for the investment and for the commitment these leading institutions have made to the research that will lead to equitable treatments and eventually a cure for this disease.”

MBC is the most advanced stage of breast cancer, known as stage IV, where breast tumor cells have spread to other parts of the body, such as the bones, liver, lungs or brain. In the U.S., it's estimated that at least 168,000 women are living with MBC. This year, more than 44,000 women and men in the U.S. are expected to die from breast cancer, most of them from MBC. There is currently no cure for the disease and treatment focuses on controlling the spread of the cancer.

Reporters interested in an interview about the investment or Komen Metastatic Breast Cancer Collaborative Research Initiative can email press@komen.org.

About Susan G. Komen®
Susan G. Komen is the world’s leading nonprofit breast cancer organization, working to save lives and end breast cancer forever. Komen has an unmatched, comprehensive 360-degree approach to fighting this disease and supporting millions of people in the U.S. and in countries worldwide. Komen advocates for patients, drives research breakthroughs, improves access to high-quality care, offers direct patient support and empowers people with trustworthy information. Founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life, Komen remains committed to supporting those affected by breast cancer today, while tirelessly searching for tomorrow’s cures. Visit komen.org or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at ww5.komen.org/social.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) is committed to making health care better, simpler and more affordable. We have been driving better health in North Carolina for generations, working to tackle our communities’ greatest health challenges. We serve our customers and communities of more than 3.8 million members, including approximately 1.1 million served on behalf of other Blue Plans. Blue Cross NC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross NC online at www.bluecrossnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.