The Breast Cancer Research Foundation gathered more than 170 scientists from around the world this morning to talk with supporters including Maria Baum of Baum Capital Management and Coco Kopelman, mother-in-law of Drew Barrymore.
Titia de Lange, a professor at Rockefeller University, said she studies “how DNA gets messed up during the formation of the tumor.” She is looking at how a cancer that develops inside the duct of the breast, which can’t spread and therefore isn’t lethal, evolves into an invasive cancer.
Harvard University’s Heather Eliassen said her studies have shown “some associations between dairy intake and breast cancer in premenopausal women” and “associations with meat intake.”
Clifford Hudis, chairman of BCRF’s Scientific Advisory Board and chief of the Breast Cancer Medicine at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, said his work with a gastroenterologist helped explain why obesity is associated with a higher rate of hormone-sensitive, post-menopausal breast cancer.
Sandra Swain of MedStar Washington Hospital Center said she is working to increase the participation of blacks in clinical trials. One of her tools is an unscripted video featuring black men and women talking about their experiences with cancer.
The annual NYC Symposium and Awards Luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria was dedicated to the foundation’s former co-chairman, Cynthia Lufkin, and former advisory board member, Muriel “Mickie” Siebert. Both died due to complications from cancer.
“Breast cancer is a horrible, horrible disease,” said Schuyler Hazard, Cynthia Lufkin’s eldest daughter. “We’re all here to do our best to fight it and save the ones we love.”
“Your strength, beauty and courage are a great tribute to your mother,” said Marisa Acocella Marchetto, an artist, author and close friend of Lufkin’s.
The symposium was BCRF founder Evelyn Lauder’s favorite event, said friend Marjorie Reed Gordon. Lauder, who died in 2011, oversaw healthy menus for BCRF events.
Today’s included herb-roasted chicken with bulgur-wheat salad and a pumpkin-spiced cake. In the goody bag: a pumpkin-carving set and a bag of coffee by Grace Hightower and Coffees of Rwanda.
The foundation gave out $45 million in grants at the luncheon. It has raised $450 million since its founding in 1993.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
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