Cutting edge breast cancer research initiatives coming to CT


Christiana Lenzer, Staff Writer

On May 11, the annual RACE IN THE PARK will take place in New Britain, as a fundraiser for new cutting edge breast cancer research. The race is supported by financial grants from the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative (CT BHI), amidst progress in Connecticut-based breast cancer research. The mission of the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative is to make a significant impact in the hope to find a cure for breast cancer by providing funds and grants to support research, education, and outreach. One hundred percent of CT BHI’s money that is raised stays in Connecticut, the only program of its nature in the state. During the past 15 years, $3.75 million in grants have been awarded to advance research and education initiatives. President of the CT BHI Board of Directors proudly stated, “What’s raised in Connecticut, stays in Connecticut,” adding “We are very proud of the tremendous support we continue to receive from sponsors, donors, volunteers, and participants. Those efforts translate into tangible support for cutting-edge research and programmatic initiatives, right here in Connecticut. We are thrilled to assist this important work in our state.” The recent grant recipients are Dr. Ravi Jain, a radiologist at Middlesex Hospital; Dr. Susan H. Tannebaum, Associate Professor of Medicine and Chief of Hematology/Oncology at UConn Health; and Dr. Anees Chagpar, Professor of Surgery at the Yale School of Medicine. Their initiatives include research to reduce the amount of return visits of breast cancer patients to the operating room, reduce the number of breast biopsies, and identify new paths of treatment and survivorship. Dr. Ravi Jain, a grant recipient as a radiologist at Middlesex Hospital, sought to use new technology called Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI) as a result of the false positives generated by mammogram and ultrasound systems. MBI was crafted to explore if it could reliably identify the false positives and thus reduce the number of unnecessary breast biopsies. The CT BHI grant he was awarded in 2017 helped initiate his clinical study. When the results were tabulated, the “emerging trend was very encouraging” following Jain’s study. “CT BHI made it possible to lay the foundation to carry this research forward, we are very encouraged by the results, and greatly appreciate the opportunity to purse this diagnostic approach” Dr. Ravi Jain said. CT BHI funds research that has not yet been qualified for federal grants, mainly in the areas of breast cancer treatment, diagnosis, and survivorship. One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime and the upcoming research and studies are progressing forward the quest to find a cure for breast cancer. Professor of Surgery at Yale, Dr. Anees Chagpar says, “Your funding is absolutely making a difference.”