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FFANY Helps Institute Keep Programs Afloat

Funds from the footwear business sharpen Pittsburgh’s focus on the isolation and study of metastic cells.

As seen in Footwear News – June 6, 2016

As the home of the first federal hospital, the brewing of the polio vaccine and advances in organ-transplant science, Pittsburgh boasts a healthy medical-history chart. Add to these the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute’s recent dedication to join the Fashion Footwear Association of New York in the battle against breast cancer. QVC Presents “FFANY Shoes on Sale” has donated almost $1 million to the Institute’s research in the last four years.

Among the ongoing studies at the Pittsburgh research center is the isolation and study of metastatic cells, or those that migrate to other organs or body systems, spreading the cancer, versus original breast cancer cells.

“With FFANY money, we were able to publish our first paper on the estrogen receptor gene’s role in metastatic cancer in the journal Clinical Cancer Research in March,” said Dr. Nancy E. Davidson, director of Pittsburgh’s Cancer Institute. “It is only the first story of several research efforts toward differentiating metastatic from original diagnosis.”

Other studies where the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Health System is the No. 1 regional employer and where the UPMC Cancer Center often works closely with the Cancer Institute, include those on breast cancer relapse and the phases of those relapses – after five years, after 10 and later. The Institute is also expanding its collection of metastatic tissues, a fundamental resource needed to accelerate research.

Davidson said that FFANY’s donor members’ annual contributions to battle cancer are key ingredients in the fight against the disease. She said that FFANY money over four years has allowed the Institute to sustain specific programs.

“FFANY is absolutely vital to cancer research,” she said. “We are delighted at Pittsburgh to join with this wonderful organization. I’m really passionate about FFANY. It funds ideas that might be characterized as high-risk and avant garde, developing programs that might not have got- ten started without FFANY to fight breast cancer.” Some of the ideas that received FFANY funds helped realize successful research programs at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (in Boston) and at the universities of Michigan and Pennsylvania.

“Our colleagues in the fashion industry are putting their money where their hearts are,” Davidson said. One of those fashion-industry donors with visionary philanthropy is Nine West, the fashion and footwear company.

“Nine West is proud to be a Founding Special Pink Benefactor of ‘FFANY Shoes on Sale.’ We continue to be inspired by the scientists leading this effort and the significant progress made to bring about better detection and treatment for women battling breast cancer” said Ralph Schipani, CEO of Nine West Holdings, Inc.

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