Question: What inspired you to participate in metastatic breast cancer research, and what keeps you motivated in this field?
Answer: In oncology, research in metastatic breast cancer has proven immensely impactful. Many of my patients with metastatic disease are living full lives involving their families, and jobs, with interests and goals outside of their cancer. They can do that because of innovative treatments that lengthen life with a good quality of life.
Question: Can you share a success story or breakthrough in metastatic breast cancer research that has been particularly impactful or promising?
Answer: In estrogen receptor-positive and HER2-positive breast cancer subtypes, average survival is over 5 years, mainly due to the impact of CDK inhibitors and HER2-directed antibodies and antibody-drug conjugates.
Question: How has the funding from events like the METGala SCV contributed to advancements in metastatic breast cancer treatment and patient care?
Answer: Breast cancer research needs to be funded at all levels, from small pilot projects to large Phase III studies of therapies nearing FDA approval. Funds should come from various sources not limited to pharmaceutical companies to ensure a breadth of research topics and innovative thinking.
Question: What challenges do researchers face when working in metastatic breast cancer, and how can our community support their efforts?
Answer: Financial resources are generally scarce, with great competition for projects across the entire breast cancer spectrum, from prevention to treatment of advanced disease. Raising funds directed at metastatic breast cancer research ensures distribution into that space.
Question: How can individuals without scientific backgrounds contribute to raising awareness and supporting metastatic breast cancer research?
Answer: They can partner with scientific researchers. An open exchange of ideas is needed to identify areas most in need and formulate a plan to address those unmet needs.
Question: What are the current gaps or unmet needs in metastatic breast cancer research, and how can events like ours help address them?
Answer: By bringing together patients, advocates, researchers, and the community at large to raise funds specifically for metastatic breast cancer and for pilot projects that may otherwise go unfunded.
Question: How can we bridge the gap between research advancements and access to innovative patient treatments?
Answer: Advocating for fast-track FDA drug approvals and funding patient support programs.
Question: Looking to the future, what are the most promising areas of research that could bring us closer to finding a cure for metastatic breast cancer?
Answer: Harnessing the body’s immune system to fight cancer.
With great sadness, we announce the passing of our dear friend and co-chair, Dr. Amy Steffe Lohmann. Amy was a tireless advocate for the fight against metastatic breast cancer, and her courage, resilience, and dedication inspired us all. Her family, friends, and the entire metastatic breast cancer community will miss her deeply.
At this year's MetGala SCV, we will present something special in honor of Amy's legacy. We will share more details about this tribute in the coming weeks, but we wanted to let you know that we will do something special to celebrate her life and work.
Amy's story reminds us of the importance of our mission, and her memory will continue to guide us in our efforts to create a future where metastatic breast cancer is no longer a terminal diagnosis. Join us on September 9th, 2023, as we pay tribute to Amy and all those who have fought this battle. Together, we'll keep her spirit alive and work towards a brighter future for everyone affected by metastatic breast cancer.
Thank you for supporting the MetGala SCV and the fight against metastatic breast cancer.
The MetGala SCV Team
Bill Miranda is a leadership trainer, coach and motivational speaker. He has worked with thousands of men and women to help them develop and improve their leadership skills in order to lead their organizations successfully.
Bill is a U.S. Air Force veteran and has completed graduate studies in leadership and organizational management. He is a former Fortune 500 executive who worked at IBM, Xerox and Data General and has been at the forefront of the computer technological revolution. He went on to become an entrepreneur and a leader in the barcode data collection industry and built one of the leading data collection companies in Mexico.
Bill sold his company and joined the consulting industry. His clients were large companies throughout the U.S., Mexico, Europe and China. Deciding to reduce his business travels, Bill focused on consulting for local small businesses as a member of the Small Business Development Center. He then became a founder and CEO of the Santa Clarita Latino Chamber of Commerce.
Always being active in the Santa Clarita community, Bill was elected to the City of Santa Clarita City Council and in 2021 was its sitting mayor. Bill continues as a City Councilman.
Discovering that one has cancer is devastating, but the pain becomes even worse when it's your own child. Accepting the news of an incurable cancer diagnosis is a challenging journey, accompanied by denial, anger, sadness, and eventually acceptance. In my case, finding acceptance was possible because of my daughter Eva's incredible courage, strength, commitment, determination, and love.
Eva has become an influential ambassador for the Metavivor organization. Inspired by her example, my fight is not only for Eva's survival, but for the survival of countless others facing stage four cancer.
Together, let us make a difference by supporting awareness, funding research, and providing hope for a brighter future.
At the young age of 41 I decided to get my first mammogram. That mammogram turned into an ultrasound which turned into a biopsy which turned into a phone call from my doctor that I had breast cancer. I was shocked. I was very active and felt healthy working as a dermatology representative and raising my three young children who were 3, 5 & 9 at the time. To make matters worse, I had a PET scan which determined that the cancer was not simply in my breast, but it was also up and down my spine, in my hips and there were innumerable breast cancer tumors in my liver. For this reason, I was immediately considered a metastatic breast cancer patient.
Before I was even allowed to begin chemotherapy, I was immediately rushed to the hospital to get a prophylactic rod placed in my left femur to prevent the cancer from eating away my hip! Thanks to wonderful medications and research, I am here today four years later to tell the story. It's not easy living with MBC. For example, I have had the cancer spread to my brain which was daunting to say the least. Another more obvious example is that I spend every day wondering if I will live long enough to watch my kids graduate from high school, or even elementary school.
METAvivor has been an inspiration and passion of mine because they allocate money to institutions that are specially focused on identifying more treatments for the already metastatic patient. Furthermore, 100% of the donations to METAvivor go directly towards research. I am alive today and getting infusions every three weeks because of previous research.
In between fighting cancer, you will see me hanging out with my husband Jon and our new puppy, cheering on my 3 children at baseball, basketball and soccer or catching up with family & friends. My dream is to be 70 years old and still thriving.