Background: It is well established that more research into the cause and prevention of breast cancer is needed. While many studies are done in cell lines and laboratory animals, translation of findings to women often falters due to perceived difficulty in recruiting women for research. The Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation's (DSLRF) Love/Avon Army of Women (AOW) program has existed for almost four years. This on-line resource was designed to facilitate the recruitment of women to participate in research aimed at identifying the cause of breast cancer. Funded by a grant from the Avon Foundation, the AOW seeks to partner one million women with the research community in an effort to accelerate breast cancer research.

Methods: Researchers submit a proposal to the AOW Scientific Advisory Committee. If a study is accepted, a mass e-mail describing the study procedures and inclusion/exclusion criteria is sent to the entire AOW database. Women sign up at to join and receive AOW e-mails about breast cancer research studies. Women self-select based on interest and study criteria, and undergo a secondary on-line screening before contact information is passed on to the researcher for the enrollment process.

Results: Over 367,000 women have signed up, including survivors and women without a history of breast cancer, ranging from ages 18 to 100, representing all 50 US states and 49 countries. To date, the AOW has recruited for 65 studies, both regional and national, that vary from biomarker and circadian rhythm research to psycho-social and quality of life studies. With over 73,000 AOW members having participated in the research process, this method of recruitment has been found to be effective and efficient. The diversity of the AOW members has proved beneficial for many studies, such as those needing to enroll racial/ethnic minorities, women of varying sexual orientations, or young survivors.

A secondary goal of the AOW is to assist researchers new to research with human subjects. The AOW has successfully helped researchers cross the chasm, coaching them on what it takes to transition their research from animal models to human subjects. The AOW will guide researchers through IRB submission, patient recruitment, and sample collection.

Conclusions: The AOW has proved to be a successful resource for scientists to accelerate accrual, expand the number and diversity of their subject population and to obtain exactly the type of specimens they need when they need it. This partnership between women and scientists has revolutionized research and accelerated efforts to eradicate breast cancer. The public is ready and willing to partner with the research community to find the answer to urgent clinical problems. The DSLRF will launch a new initiative this fall to harness the public's desire to be active research participants: The Health of Women (HOW) Study, an online longitudinal cohort study that will reduce participant burden with multiple short modules at regular intervals. Preliminary data from HOW will be available later this year.

Citation Information: Cancer Res 2012;72(24 Suppl):Abstract nr P2-15-01.