Sidewalks to Science: Getting to Know Dr. Paula D. Bos, Ph.D. at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine

With lab colleagues at VCU

Dedicating her life to finding a cure for breast cancer, Dr. Paula D. Bos is driven to help Komen meet our Bold Goal of reducing the current number of breast cancer deaths in the U.S. by 50% by 2026. As an Assistant Professor of Pathology, she and members of her lab are dedicated to developing new treatment options for breast cancer patients with metastatic brain tumors.

In this month’s Sidewalks to Science blog, we will get to know Dr. Bos a little better.

When I’m not in the lab I…

  • Enjoy the outdoors with my daughter and husband.
  • Love reading and baking with my daughter.
  • Am an enthusiastic follower of my daughter’s soccer team. As a native Argentinian, I am very passionate about soccer.

Family Picture at the beach

 What I do…targeting immune cells to treat brain metastases.

Although metastatic breast cancer has spread to another part of the body, it’s still considered and treated as breast cancer. Breast cancer that has spread to the brain is treated with breast cancer drugs, rather than treatments for a cancer that began in the brain. However, treatments that work for the primary breast tumor are often ineffective at treating the metastatic brain tumor. Current treatment strategies for brain metastasis, which include surgery and radiation, only offer some improvements for most patients. Therefore, I want to improve the options available to breast cancer patients that have developed brain metastases.

I am investigating how a type of immune cell called a regulatory T (Treg) cell helps breast cancer cells that have spread to the brain grow and survive. Tregs can be found in primary and metastatic breast tumors and correlate with poor patient prognosis. A normal function for Tregs is controlling immune responses, and researchers have shown these cells have the ability to suppress the immune system response against cancer. With my Komen funding, I’m studying how Treg cells support brain metastases. I’m trying to develop a treatment strategy to disrupt the support of breast cancer cells that have metastasized to the brain that could be used in patients.

Breast cancer…touches the lives of so many.

My aunt is a 12-year breast cancer survivor, and other types of cancers have taken dear family members and friends.

Working with patients…motivates my research strategy.

Through my research, I have met and come to admire an incredible group of advocates. Their strength and tireless efforts to bring awareness and increase funding for breast cancer research are a constant incentive to intensify our research efforts.

Dr. Paula Bos

People with breast cancer should…participate in clinical trials!

With new technologies available, science is progressing at a fast pace. We have seen major improvements in the treatment of cancer, especially with the immune system checkpoint blocking antibodies. Breast cancer has yet seen the benefit seen by other cancers, but several approaches are at the clinical trial stage.

Komen is…about patient advocacy!

I have always been motivated to do research to answer pressing clinical needs, but since I started working with patient advocates a few years ago, I now have a better understanding of where the priorities are. Involving advocates allows us to know we are on the right track to discover something of value to the patient community.

“Research is a challenging, expensive, and time-consuming activity. Knowing that patient advocates agree with the goals of our research is reassuring that we are on the right track to discover something of value.”

You can support Dr. Bos and her research by donating directly to her grant here.

If you or a loved one needs information or resources about clinical trials, call our Clinical Trial Information Helpline at 1-877 GO KOMEN (1-877- 465- 6636) or email clinicaltrialinfo@komen.org.

The helpline offers breast cancer clinical trial education and support, such as:

  • Knowing when to consider a trial
  • How to find a trial
  • How to decide which trial is best
  • What to expect during a trial
  • Information about clinical trial resources

Motivation Monday: Top 10 Inspiring Quotes About Bold Goals

Monday is a time for fresh starts. For new beginnings. As we look forward to this week, the upcoming 3-Days of 2018, and the years to come, we know that anything is possible. We are making steps every day towards achieving our own goals, and Komen’s Bold Goal.

Susan G. Komen’s Bold Goal was laid out in 2016, setting the objective to reduce the current number of U.S. breast cancer deaths by 50% by 2026. Now and always, we are rallying supporters to take the extra step—to make a bigger, bolder impact and be More Than Pink®.

Come and join us! You can still sign up for the remaining 3-Days of this year, and get involved with Komen and the 3-Day in other ways too!

If you need some extra motivation to join our cause, or to achieve your own personal goals for this week, we have you covered! Here are our Top 10 favorite quotes about setting bold goals…

“I don’t focus on what I’m up against. I focus on my goals and I try to ignore the rest.” — Venus Williams

“Goals. There’s no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There’s no telling what you can do when you believe in them. And there’s no telling what will happen when you act upon them.” —Jim Rohn

“Stay focused, go after your dreams and keep moving toward your goals.” — LL Cool J

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” — Tony Robbins

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” — Pablo Picasso

“Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.” —Oprah Winfrey

“You have to be vigorous. That’s the only way you are going to get it because everybody has dreams and everybody has goals, but the only people who achieve them are the ones that go after it and don’t take no for an answer.” — Nick Cannon

“All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible.” —Orison Swett Marden

“Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all — in which case, you fail by default.” — J.K. Rowling

“Impossible is just a word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” — Muhammad Ali

What are your favorite inspiring quotes? Tell us in the comments!

Sneak Peek: Introducing 3-Day in the Round

It’s zero dark thirty on Friday morning, and you’ve shuffled out of your cozy bed and donned your walking gear. You can feel the excitement in the air as a line of brake lights winds around the Opening Ceremony parking lot. Everywhere you look, pink walkers and festive crew are gathering and walking and talking, sharing hugs and handshakes, some for the first time. The air is balmy and the sky is waiting to burst into sunrise, peeks of pink and orange painting the clouds. There’s giddiness, joy, anticipation, and memory waiting all around you; for those first few moments where we stretch to warm us up, to the line of survivors making their way to the stage. Welcome – you’ve arrived at your Susan G. Komen 3-Day Opening Ceremony.

We know how hard you and your fellow walkers, crew, and volunteers work in the many months leading up to the weekend of the 3-Day, and we want to do everything we can to give you an amazing 3-Day experience. While you’re fundraising and training, we have a dedicated team who is carefully reviewing your feedback from 3-Days past, thinking of how we can make the 3-Day an even better experience for you next year. One change we’re so excited to introduce for the 2017 3-Day is the concept of our Opening and Closing Ceremonies “In the Round.”

This year, we’re eliminating the large main stage and focusing on a center stage, so that all participants have an amazing view and are in the middle of the action.

Those who have seen a 3-Day Opening or Closing Ceremony in the past may remember a main stage at the front, with a smaller, circular stage in the middle of the audience. This year, we’ll be doing away with the large main stage, and instead, focusing our attention on a circular stage in the middle of the audience – a concept known as “Theatre in the Round.” Our Event Operations Senior Manager, René, who is a theatre aficionado, shares, “We’re bringing people together even more this year, because we’re not just looking in one direction. We’re looking all around. We don’t want people to speak at you, so that’s also why you’ll see more and more survivor and participant interaction this year, with members of our 3-Day community leading our ceremonies.”

This concept will also be seen in our dining tent, where you’ll enjoy the Camp Show in the middle of the action. We hope you enjoy our new “in the round” style; and chances are, you’ll notice it in other elements of your 3-Day experience, too ;). Wouldn’t it be fun if your tents also had a common area and place to hang out, bringing your community together yet again? Keep an eye out when you arrive at camp on Friday, and you just might notice that this inclusive feeling shows up in a few other places.

We can’t wait to see you soon, and we encourage you to call your coaches if you have any last minute questions, or post here or on our Facebook. See ya around! 😉