Category Archives: News and Issues

Items in the news or community related to cancer, drugs, medical care, etc.

BCPC donates $95,000 to GRU Cancer Center Research

BCPC Presents $95,000 check to GRU Cancer Center

BCPC President Nita Zachow presents $95,000 check to GRU Cancer Center Director Dr. Samir Khleif for breast cancer research

On  August 9, 2013, the Breast Cancer Prevention Coalition (BCPC) presented Georgia Regents University (GRU) Cancer Center with a check for $95,000 for breast cancer research.  The check was accepted by Cancer Center Director Dr. Samir Khleif during a reception attended by GRU Cancer Center staff and BCPC members, including BCPC founding member, Dr. Margaret Devore. 

In anticipation of this gift, the GRU Cancer Center staff had carefully selected three breast cancer research projects to fund with the donation.  The researchers responsible for these projects are Dr. Ahmed Chadli, Dr. LesleyAnn Hawthorn, and Dr. Ravindra Kohle.  Each gave a synopsis of their research.   (Click here for more details.)

Dr. Khleif noted that “All three doctors are doing basic research that may contribute to improved treatments, earlier detection and, best of all, prevention of breast cancer.” He demonstrated his enthusiasm for the research by announcing that the Cancer Center will contribute an additional $25,000 to the projects.

The BCPC funds were raised primarily through annual golf tournaments sponsored by the Mount Vintage Plantation community and various fund raisers in area middle and high schools over the past four years.  Dr. Khleif thanked the BCPC and Mount Vintage for helping to move the vision of the GRU Cancer Center forward.


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Opportunity for Avastin Patients to Enroll in Genetic Study

Editors Note:  As a followup on the FDA’s controversial 2011 decision to revoke its approval of Avastin for late-stage breast cancer treatment, we are reprinting this recent update from



April 12, 2012


Dear FAMEDS Supporters,

It’s been many months since we last communicated as all has been quiet on the Avastin front. Due to your good efforts, all Avastin patients with metastatic breast cancer at the time of the FDA’s decision continue to receive Avastin and insurance coverage through private insurance companies and Medicare.

Despite the FDA’s decision last year, Genentech, the manufacturer of Avastin, still appears firmly committed to researching the use of Avastin for metastatic breast cancer and a new study just opened a few weeks ago.

Genentech has partnered with 23andMe, a personal genetics company, on a first of its kind, pilot observational study (InVite) to learn if a person’s genes could play a role in how they respond to Avastin in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. More information about the study, such as eligibility, how to enroll and information about patient privacy are available at:

Eligibility includes being treated with Avastin at any point in 2010 and/or 2011. Genentech hopes to recruit 1,000 people to participate in the study who will be asked to send a saliva (spit) sample for genetic analysis, potentially provide a blood sample, and participate in an online survey to answer questions about their breast cancer and experience with Avastin.

The primary goals of this study are to determine if people are willing to participate in a web-based research model and to determine the effectiveness of gathering information through this method. In addition, Genentech hopes to analyze genetic information from study participants to determine if there are any genetic differences between people who do well on Avastin and those who do not.

This InVite study is not replacing the ongoing search for a biomarker through the Avastin clinical development program. Genentech still plans to initiate MERiDiAN this year, the Phase III trial discussed with the FDA that will evaluate Avastin plus paclitaxel in people with HER2-negative mBC and will also evaluate VEGF-A as a potential predictive biomarker for efficacy with Avastin.

While we have not heard of any problems, if you or someone you know has any questions or concerns about insurance coverage about Avastin, please call Genentech’s Access Solutions Group at (866) 4 ACCESS and the team of specialists may be able to help. If there are any new developments on the Avastin front please be assured that we will keep you informed.

Best regards,

Terry Kalley

Copyright © FAMEDs. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Breast Cancer Awareness, Events, News and Issues, Research

Dr. Edmond Ritter to Speak on Reconstructive Breast Surgery

Reconstructive Breast Surgery
Following Mastectomy

presented by Dr. Edmond Ritter

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

First Floor Conference Room
GHSU Cancer Center
1411 Laney Walker Blvd., Augusta, GA

5:00 pm till 6:00 pm

Please invite anyone interested in hearing Dr. Ritter.  He will answer all questions dealing with reconstructive breast surgery and cosmetic surgery as well.

BCPC President Nita Zachow recently completed breast reconstructive surgery with Dr. Ritter .  She is very pleased with the results and highly recommends him.

Save the Date: May 10, 2012

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Filed under Breast Cancer Awareness, Events, News and Issues, Wellness

BCPC Members Meet with New GHSU Cancer Center Director

BCPC Members Meet Dr. Khleif

BCPC Board members Nita Zachow, Jane Faircloth, Karen Eckert and Celeste Spence recently met with Dr. Samir Khleif, the newly appointed director of the Georgia Health Science University (GHSU) Cancer Center. The BCPC members welcomed Dr. Khleif to GHSU and discussed various ways in which BCPC volunteers might work with the Cancer Center.  Nita also noted that the BCPC intends to donate $50,000 to GHSU for breast cancer research this year, and would like guidance on where to direct the contribution.

Dr. Khleif shared his priorities for patient care and research at GHSU.  As his plans evolve, he will suggest ways to incorporate BCPC volunteers.  He will also provide a list of needs related to breast cancer research where the BCPC’s $50,000 donation can make a difference.

For more information on Dr. Khleif and his background in cancer research, please see this January, 2012 GHSU article and a profile by the Augusta Chronicle from September, 2011.

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National Cancer Institute Chief Named Director of GHSU Cancer Center

Dr. Samir Khleif, Chief of the National Cancer Institutes’s Cancer Vaccine Section has been named Director of the Georgia Health Sciences University Cancer Center.

Dr. Khleif, whose research group designed some of the first cancer vaccine clinical trials targeting specific genetic changes in cancer cells, will oversee GHSU’s cancer clinical care and research. (Proceeds from BCPC fundraisers go to this research.)

For more information on Dr. Khleif, please see the Augusta Chronicle’s September 13, 2011 article, New Cancer Center director has experience building and researching.

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Karen Eckert named to BCPC’s Executive Committee

On Thursday, July 21, 2011, Karen Eckert was named to the Breast Cancer Prevention Coalition’s Executive Board. Nita Zachow, BCPC President, stated “The BCPC has the opportunity to make a positive impact with Georgia Health Sciences University (GHSU) through its role in funding research to find the cure for breast cancer and added support for volunteers at the Cancer Center in Augusta, Georgia. Karen has the qualities of leadership, dedication and experience to move the Breast Cancer Prevention Coalition forward in these efforts.”

Karen, who was featured in February’s Member Spotlight, heads up this year’s fundraising event that includes twenty schools in the CSRA participating in the “Walk for the Cure“. She has spent endless hours helping to produce a nutrition and healthy lifestyle video that includes presentations with WJBF-TV’s Jennie Montgomery and Dr. Pendergrast.  It will be shown in the middle and high schools during the month of October.

Nita noted that “combining a fundraising event that seeks monies for breast cancer research at GHSU along with students watching the video on “Helping to Prevent Breast Cancer with Good Nutirtion and Healthy Lifestyle” will impact thousands of students and faculty members  in the CSRA. This video will be available for youth groups, ladies organizations and clubs throughout the US. It is a major step forward in preventing breast cancer through education on nutrition and healthy lifestyle.”


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Sign the Avastin Petition

The FDA’s decision in December to revoke its approval of Avastin for late-stage breast cancer treatment has touched off a firestorm of controversy. It will mean a death sentence to many. Please show your support to the Avastin women by signing the Freedom of Access to Medicines (FAMEDS) petition at

FAMEDS is also sponsoring a peaceful protest outside the FDA where a hearing is to take place on June 28th in Maryland. (See details below.) If you can attend the event, please contact Tracey Walsh (803) 341-2713 or e-mail

The following information was taken from the “FREEDOM OF ACCESS TO MEDICINES NEWSLETTER #5” dated June 8, 2011. More information about the Avastin issue can be found on the FAMEDS website. You can also subscribe to the newsletter there.


There will be a two-hour public comment opportunity at the FDA hearing on June 28th. The good news is that FAMEDS and other patients have been selected to speak at the hearing. We should hear soon how many minutes the FDA has allotted to us.


We are still looking for another 50 or so people to join our peaceful protest outside the FDA on June 28th in Silver Spring, Maryland. The protest will run from 7 a.m. until 8 a.m. so that folks can attend the hearing when it starts around 8 a.m.

If you intend to join us, please sign up at We need to know who will be there so that we can provide sufficient protest T-shirts (pink , of course), create sufficient banners, etc. We do encourage all cancer patients, family members, and friends who plan to attend the protest and / or the hearing to wear pink on the day of the hearing. We want the panel that will make the life and death decision on our Avastin women to know that they are real and our support for them is in that room.

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