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Venture Capital for Cancer Research
One in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, and in a significant number of cases, that cancer will metastasize. But research into how and why cancer spreads has lagged—until now, says Larry Norton, MD, scientific director of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and deputy physician in chief for breast cancer programs at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City. Norton is helping direct Aurora, a three-year-old initiative that's disbursing $31 million to scientists around the world to study the molecular basis of metastases. "The way science has approached breast cancer is to figure out why the cows are in the field by studying the ones who stayed in the barn," says Norton. "We're looking at metastatic specimens—the field cows—to learn why cells spread; if we can stop them from spreading, tumors would be nothing worse than pimples. For people with metastatic cancer, there's real hope, and this major effort is finding it."