Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to establish Benderson Family Program for triple-negative breast cancer

$5 million gift is the largest philanthropic gift to TNBC research and care in Dana-Farber’s history

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has received a $5 million gift from the Benderson Family of Sarasota, Florida that will accelerate research in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) and strengthen Dana-Farber’s capabilities for treating this disease. The gift establishes the Benderson Family Program for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer and represents the largest philanthropic donation to TNBC research at Dana-Farber. This gift will also provide powerful momentum toward the Institute’s comprehensive campaign, currently in the quiet phase. The $5 million commitment is the Benderson Family’s second major gift to Dana-Farber in support of TNBC research and treatment.

Under the direction of Eric P. Winer, MD, Chief of the Division of Breast Oncology in the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber, Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Faculty Advancement, and Thompson Chair in Breast Cancer Research, the commitment by the Benderson Family provides the resources for Dana-Farber to expand a novel comprehensive TNBC research registry and establish a new endowed fund, the Benderson Family Endowment for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Research. The resulting robust TNBC cohort will provide the data and samples necessary to conduct vital laboratory experiments, identify potential drug targets, and design clinical trials for the more effective treatment and improved outcomes for TNBC patients. Additionally, the Bendersons’ gift will support capital projects and strategic initiatives under the leadership of Dana-Farber President and CEO Laurie H. Glimcher, MD.

“The Bendersons’ generous gift will allow Dr. Winer and Dana-Farber to continue to lead the way in TNBC research and patient care. It will also allow us to fund other initiatives at Dana-Farber that will make a difference in the way cancer is treated and benefit all patients at Dana-Farber,” said Glimcher.

Triple negative breast cancer is one of the most challenging forms of breast cancer to treat. Despite recent advances forged by physician-scientists at Dana-Farber and elsewhere, new and novel treatment approaches for TNBC patients are needed. Currently, chemotherapy remains the backbone of treatment for TNBC, but with the ongoing clinical trials at Dana-Farber, supported by the Bendersons, new therapies including immunotherapies, antibody drug conjugates, and PARP inhibitors are being tested for the treatment of this type of cancer.

“Lori and I are thankful to Dr. Winer and his team for the amazing care received at Dana-Farber. We truly hope that our gift will accelerate triple-negative breast cancer research and bring better treatments to other woman sooner,” said Randy Benderson. “We are confident that Dana-Farber will lead the way to a cure for this relentless disease.”

TNBC describes breast cancer cells that do not have estrogen, progesterone, or HER2 receptors. TNBC makes up approximately 10-15% of all breast cancers and is usually more aggressive than estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer and HER2-positive breast cancer. This disease is often found in younger women (under 40 years old) and in women of African American or Hispanic background. The disease may also be associated with having an inherited mutation in the BRCA1 gene.

“Many women diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer today will do very well with existing treatments,” said Winer. “But there are still far too many women with TNBC who urgently require new and better therapies. The incredibly generous support from the Benderson Family allows our researchers to build on recent advancements in TNBC, with the goal of delivering novel and promising treatment strategies to more patients.”

The Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber unites many of the world’s leading experts in breast cancer, gynecologic cancer, and genetics to achieve one common goal: to provide patients with the latest, most advanced care, including innovative therapies that are often available only through clinical trials.

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