Background: One of the barriers to finding the cause of breast cancer is the difficulty basic scientists have in obtaining human tissues, fluids and information processed according to their needs. In a demonstration project the Dr Susan Love Research Foundation partnered with a Texas Tech University scientist to obtain blood and core needle biopsies from healthy women that fit strict criteria regarding time of first pregnancy. By accessing our registry of potential volunteers, we were able to collect all the specimens for the first year within three months. This experience led us to partner with the Avon Foundation to launch, the Love/Avon Army of Women (AOW), a national just in time resource to accelerate breast cancer research. Methods: The AOW is a pool of volunteers who are willing to participate in research. Women sign in online with minimal information agreeing to be contacted by email with each opportunity. Researchers contact the AOW (www.armyofwomen.org ) with their studies. Unfunded studies that are appropriate receive a letter of support. Peer-reviewed, funded projects are reviewed by the AOW Scientific Advisory Committee for appropriateness. Studies are then e-blasted to all of the Army volunteers and eligible women RSVP to the AOW for a secondary screen. The list is then sent to the researcher. If a researcher cannot acquire his or her own specimens, they will be obtained according to specifications at a regional AOW Center. All scientists will participate in a webcast with the eligible volunteers to explain the research before the study and describe the overall results at the end; thus ensuring a partnership between the women and the researchers in moving towards the eradication of breast cancer. Results: The AOW recruitment was initiated October 1, 2008 by Dr. Love on national TV and radio with the goal of eventually having one million women nationally, willing to participate in clinical research. To date over 250,000 women have joined. All ethnicities, ages (18-89), and states are represented. The first eblast was sent out in mid October for the Sister Study attempting to accrue the last 5000 women needed: African Americans, Hispanics, other minorities and Caucasian women over 65 who had a sister with breast cancer. In 48 hours, 1600 women had responded and qualified and in 2 weeks 2300 were enrolled. The second study needed women who were breast-feeding and scheduled for a breast biopsy. Thirty eligible women in the first week were identified proving the concept on a national scale. Conclusions: The Love/Avon Army of Women is a just in time resource for breast cancer scientists to obtain exactly the specimens needed, processed exactly as desired and when they are needed including: normal breast tissue, ductal fluid, urine, saliva, blood or information. This new partnership between women and scientists promises to revolutionize research and accelerate efforts to eradicate breast cancer.
Citation Information: In: Proc Am Assoc Cancer Res; 2009 Apr 18-22; Denver, CO. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; 2009. Abstract nr 4837.
100th AACR Annual Meeting-- Apr 18-22, 2009; Denver, CO