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The Avon Foundation Funds Breast Cancer Research at Fox Chase Cancer Center

PHILADELPHIA (May 28, 2008) - The Avon Foundation is funding research at Fox Chase Cancer Center to help identify the genomic signature of pregnancy and its role in protecting women from breast cancer. Jose Russo, M.D., director of the breast cancer research laboratory, will lead the Fox Chase study in collaboration with New York University and the Umea University in Sweden.

Previous work in Russo's laboratory shows that giving birth may present a genetic signature detectable in breast cells and different from that of women who have never been pregnant. Russo hopes that exploring these genetic signatures further will lead to a better understanding of the unknown biological factors that help protect women who give birth against breast cancer.

The specific research that the Avon Foundation is funding seeks to characterize and validate the genomic signature of pregnancy in the breast. The goal is to prepare for a more complex program to develop biomarkers that reflect the genomic and physiological breast changes associated with pregnancy. By developing these biomarkers, scientists will be able to apply epidemiological research and chemopreventive interventions that aim to reduce the impact of breast cancer.

The study involves postmenopausal women, with and without a history of pregnancies, from an ethnically homogeneous region in northern Sweden. Studying this specific group at this early stage of the research helps avoid uncertainties related to different ethnic backgrounds.


Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

Media inquiries only, please contact Diana Quattrone at 215-728-7784.

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