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Stand Together

Since its inception in 1993, more than $50 million has been donated towards first step breast cancer research.

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Michigan Data Kicks Cancer

Thanks to industry-raised funds, one university is building rich databases to support more breast cancer studies.

As seen in Footwear News – March 21, 2016

While the Fashion Footwear Association of New York is well known for setting the pace in the shoe industry, this group has stepped up to passionately support the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, whose Breast Oncology Program has received more than $5.5 million from FFANY since 2000.

“We are tremendously grateful for FFANY, which has been our loyal and enthusiastic partner for the last 16 years,” said Daniel Hayes, M.D., co-director of the U-M Breast Oncology Program. “FFANY’s grant program nurtures unexplored, yet potentially breakthrough, research ideas. Its seed funding is an essential step in moving us toward a cure.”

Hayes’ team studied why some patients respond to certain therapies while others do not. “It’s surprising that only about half of patients with forms of breast cancer characterized as ‘estrogen receptive’ benefit from anti-estrogen therapies,” Hayes said. “The question is further complicated by the fact that, between different patients and even within an individual patient, there can be multiple factors collaborating to help the cancer resist the therapy. We’re working hard to understand how this happens so we can personalize treatment based on each patient’s unique cancer profile.”

Thanks entirely to QVC Presents ‘FFANY Shoes on Sale,’ U-M recently completed a database of tissue samples from biopsies and detailed clinical data from breast cancer patients. Containing 1,000 patient histories, the database is one of the most complete privately-funded resources of its kind. Researchers can use this resource to support further breast cancer studies. “Projects like databases might not seem exciting at first blush,” said Hayes, “until they start to pay off. That’s what’s happening now, thanks to FFANY.”

For breast cancer patients, every breakthrough is exciting. Renee Janovsky, vice president and general manager of Neiman Marcus in the Somerset Collection at Troy, Mich., was diagnosed in 2006 with a rare form of breast cancer requiring aggressive treatment. “Every patient experiences breast cancer and its treatment differently,” she said. “My treatment was really challenging, but as of today, I’m cancer free! Hopefully the work being done at Michigan will make it possible for future breast cancer patients to receive more precisely targeted treatments with fewer side effects.”

Janovsky is thrilled that FFANY plays such an important role in cancer research. “It feels good to know that the industry I love and have devoted my career to is standing behind me in my fight against breast cancer, and that the dollars they raise are being put to work at the institution that saved my life.”

Nathan Forbes, managing partner of the Forbes Company, a Michigan shopping destination developer, shares that enthusiasm. “It is great to see two of our passions – cancer research and fashion – come together through U-M’s partnership with FFANY,” Forbes said.



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