As seen in Footwear News – September 19, 2016
The contributions that the Fashion Footwear Association of New York has steered to some of the leading-edge breast cancer research centers sometimes have been risky yet ultimately necessary initial steps to get baseline programs started so more detailed and crucial research follows in stride.
Contributions from FFANY member donors — such as Marc Fisher of Marc Fisher Footwear, whose family co-founded “FFANY Shoes on Sale” 23 years ago in a tent in New York’s Central Park—to the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia are vital. These gifts started a patient database, furthering Penn Medicine research with FFANY funds to isolate deadly tumor cells that resist chemotherapy. FFANY has contributed more than $5 million to the Abramson center.
“My family’s relationship with Penn Medicine is longstanding,” Marc Fisher said. “To see over the years how the Penn scientists and physicians work relentlessly to find ways to treat cancer is remarkable. Dedicated to innovative and compassionate cancer care, they have transformed patient care and developed new therapies that improve the quality of life for women with breast cancer. To be able to support the Abramson center, my family and I are confident we are one step closer to finding a cure.”
FFANY agreed to initially fund a breast-cancer database for Abramson, according to Angela DeMichele, M.D., co-chair of Abramson’s 2-PREVENT Breast Cancer Translational Center of Excellence (TCE) at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia. The TCE is the first and only cancer research center dedicated solely to breast cancer recurrence. “That database became the foundation for our further research,” DeMichele said.
Succeeding research, spearheaded by Lewis Chodosh, M.D., Ph.D., put a focus on the recurrence of tumor cells in at least 15 percent of patients. He found that more than 99 percent of tumors were eradicated by chemotherapy, but that tiny clusters of hardy tumor cells were left behind to travel or “metastasize” through to body to other organs and systems.
Chodosh’s research found that a drug used to fight leukemia may be the significant one to battle the migrating cancer cells. “None of this would have happened without FFANY money,” DeMichele said. “FFANY deserves a huge amount of credit for what comes out of this center. FFANY’s willingness to take risks and to give you the freedom and trust has led to remarkable advances.” “Twenty-three years later, we know so much more about this horrible disease and that is predominantly because of the research that has gone into fighting breast cancer,” Fisher said. “It is so imperative for our industry to be MORE committed to the hopes of finding a cure for breast cancer.”