AURORA, Colo. (April 22, 2010) – Breast cancer research at the University of Colorado Cancer Center (UCCC) received another boost with a generous gift from Safeway, Inc. The grocer presented a check for $176,000 to UCCC as part of a giving program that raised more than $18 million this past October in Safeway grocery stores across North America.

“Some people think that rounding up their bills, even if it’s only a couple of cents, won’t make a difference. But those pennies add up to a lot of money that is advancing research in the fight against a disease that kills almost 41,000 women and men each year,” said Kris Staaf, director of public affairs, Safeway. “Even in this tough economy, our customers, employees and suppliers answered the call by donating their hard earned money to find a cure for breast cancer.”

UCCC will use the money to manage the I-SPY 2 clinical trial and upgrade its breast cancer tissue bank. I-SPY 2 will help determine which women with newly diagnosed, locally advanced breast tumors do better: those who receive chemotherapy plus new therapies, biologically targeted therapies before surgery or chemotherapy alone before surgery.

Anthony Elias, MD, associate director for clinical research at UCCC and breast cancer program director, says, “Gifts like this one from Safeway help us find better therapies for breast cancer more quickly. I-SPY 2 will allow us to test multiple drugs at nearly two dozen cancer centers. We will start with three drugs that have shown promise in common subtypes of breast cancer.”

Elias says I-SPY 2 has the power to move the field forward faster than any trial before it and will create an enormous resource for the future of breast cancer treatment.

When Safeway shoppers rounded up their bills to support breast cancer research, they also helped Elias upgrade a breast cancer tissue bank. The tissue bank database includes patient information like health history, family history and results of any tests, including molecular screening. Scientists and physicians asking specific questions about breast cancer can use data from the tissue bank in their research.

“Infrastructure is as important to a research center as a foundation is to a house,” says Elias. “Without a foundation, the house can get swept away in a mudslide. Without infrastructure, you can’t do research.”

In the past three years, Safeway has donated more than $800,000 to fund critical breast cancer research at UCCC.

In photo from left to right: Bruce Schroffel, University of Colorado Hospital, President & CEO Debbie Portwood, Safeway, director of human resources Kris Staaf, Safeway, director of public affairs
Anthony Elias, MD, UCCC, associate director for clinical research
Strode Weaver, MHSA MBA, UCH, executive director oncology services

Contact: Erika Matich, 720.848.7852, 303.524.2780, [email protected]

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