Ninth Annual Hot Pink Luncheon and Symposium in Palm Beach
(Seated, left to right: Daniel A. Haber, MD, PhD; Edith Perez, MD; Larry Norton, MD, Chairman, BCRF Executive Board of Scientific Advisors; Standing, left to right: Clifford Hudis, MD, Chairman, BCRF Scientific Advisory Committee; Myra Biblowit, BCRF President; Peg Mastrianni, BCRF Deputy Director)
On February 6th, the Ninth Annual Hot Pink Luncheon and Symposium took place at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida. This year's Luncheon was held in memory of BCRF's beloved Founder and Chairman, Evelyn H. Lauder
. The event was a huge success raising more than $500,000.
Introducing himself as "Mr. Evelyn Lauder," Leonard A. Lauder, newly-appointed Acting Chairman of BCRF's Board of Directors, warmly welcomed a crowd of 250 guests. "It was Evelyn's dream to cure and prevent breast cancer. And I am absolutely committed to making this happen," Mr. Lauder said. "Breast cancer knows no national boundaries or political parties. We need to all work together to achieve our goal."
Reflecting BCRF's commitment to scientific research through funding talented individuals, the event brought together an expert panel to provide an update on Breast Cancer: A Year of Progress and Promise. The panelists featured Larry Norton, MD, BCRF Scientific Director and Deputy Physician-in-Chief at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC); Daniel A. Haber, MD, PhD, Director of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cancer Center; and Edith A. Perez, MD, Deputy Director of Mayo Clinic Cancer Center and Group Vice Chair of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology. Chairman of BCRF's Scientific Advisory Committee, Clifford Hudis, MD (Chief, Breast Cancer Medicine Service and Attending Physician at MSKCC) moderated the panel.
Dr. Hudis introduced the panel by emphasizing the collaborative nature of their work. Dr. Norton gave an overview on how our understanding of cancer has dramatically altered due to dramatic advances in basic biology and in clinical care. Cancer's deleterious nature derives not only from uncontrollable cell division but also from cancer cells' ability to invade surrounding tissues, return to their original sites to "self-seed," and "recruit" healthy cells to become cancerous. Dr. Norton described a few new strategies that have been developed to stymie cancer cells' movement.
"Cancers evolve and are caused by many genetic mutations. Tumors adapt," reiterated Dr. Haber, whose work on circulating tumor cells is one of the nine new projects BCRF undertook in 2011-2012. An expert in the genetics of pediatric and lung cancers, Dr. Haber spoke about how BCRF funding has allowed his team to shift focus to breast cancer. Applying the CTC chip, an innovative technology they developed, Dr. Haber's team is trying to capture circulating tumor cells, which are thought to be pivotal in the spread of cancer, as they move within the bloodstream as a way to monitor disease progression and to anchor new treatment strategies.
Echoing Mr. Lauder's earlier comment of how breast cancer is not confined by geographic boundaries, Dr. Perez illustrated scientific collaborations happening at the local, national, and global levels. She gave examples of how laboratory work unraveling the genetic make-up of breast cancer in individual laboratories progresses to clinical studies at the national level and to eventual global impact. Dr. Hudis concluded the panel presentations after a spirited Q&A session covering such topics as screening/detection and breast cancer prevention. BCRF grantee, José Baselga, MD, PhD (MGH Cancer Center), participated in the discussion with an update on progress in developing breast cancer vaccines, which he cautioned are not on the short-term horizon due to the complexity of the immune system.
The afternoon included a luncheon and an informal fashion show featuring selections from the Neiman Marcus Spring 2012 collection. Special thanks to the Braver Philanthropic Fund, Credit Suisse, The Sol Goldman Charitable Trust, The Evelyn and Leonard Lauder Foundation, The Ambrose Monell Foundation, Neiman Marcus, and Betty Saks for generously underwriting the luncheon and to the Co-Chairs Donna Acquavella, Louise Braver, Betsy Green, Joanne de Guardiola, Sandy Krakoff, Hillie Mahoney, Pauline Pitt, Tricia Quick, Hilary Geary Ross, Frances Scaife, and Judith Schlager. The event had record-breaking attendance, and BCRF looks forward to returning to Palm Beach on Tuesday, February 5, 2013.