A Letter from Dr. Susan Love

As we start 2006, I want to update you regarding all of the research progress we have made in the last year. As a research partner, I feel it is important to update you on the research that is taking place at the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation thanks to women, like you, who are collaborating with us to eradicate breast cancer.

We recently analyzed the data we obtained from the first fifty women who participated in the normal breast study. I'm incredibly excited to let you know that what we have found will challenge the conventional wisdom about how the breast works and how breast cancer develops.

Currently, the guiding principal behind breast cancer research and treatment is that all of the breast ducts develop in the same way. But our research indicates that it appears that each duct has different levels and types of hormones, proteins, and cells. If this finding is substantiated in future research studies, it means that breast cancer researchers will have to begin thinking about the breast as a collection of individual ductal systems. This, in turn, poses the exciting possibility that when cancer occurs we may not need to treat the whole breast but just the one ductal system that contains the cells that are becoming cancerous. This would be an incredible advance!

But, and there is always a but. As those of you who have already undergone ductal lavage know, when we are doing the lavage procedure, it is difficult to know whether we are truly in a ductal system. It's possible that we are inside a big duct. But we also might be inside a little duct or even a perforation.

Our next goal is to solve this problem. And I'm thrilled to tell you that the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation has received a $300,000 grant from the Avon Foundation and a $150,000 grant from the Taper Foundation that will allow us to immediately get started on this work. In this phase, we will be using a ductoscope-an incredibly small camera-to look inside the duct before we perform ductal lavage. Using the ductoscope will allow us to actually see where we are inside the duct and to correlate the fluid we obtain from that location to the anatomy of the duct. We will also use an ultrasound image of the breast to determine the size of the ductal system we are lavaging. This will provide us with the additional information we need to ascertain where the duct we have lavaged is in relationship to the other breast ducts.

We plan to enroll 100 women in this new research study within the next six months. I hope that you will help us to achieve this goal by taking part in this study or telling your friends about it. If you, or someone you know, would like to take part, please email meghan (dot) brennan (at) dslrf (dot) org.

I'm also pleased to share with you some more good news...

The Foundation recently received a significant donation from the Pink Bracelet Fund, a group of women who came together to raise money for breast cancer research in honor of Melissa Etheridge. With the assistance of Melissa's devoted fans we have been able to grow our program and move forward with enhancing our website. Stay tuned for a new and improved website in the early spring.

Without you, none of this would be possible. Your involvement allowed us to gather the preliminary data necessary to get the two large grants that will permit us to move on to the second phase of our project. Thank you for believing in me, the Foundation, and the work we are doing. You are part of a great journey that will not end until we eradicate breast cancer.

Warmest regards,
Dr. Susan Love

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