Hope isn’t canceled. It turns out research isn’t entirely, either. At Johns Hopkins University, breast cancer researcher and Hope Scarves funding recipient Andrew Ewald and his team have continued to make strides in understanding metastatic breast cancer with patients always front-of-mind. “The most important thing is to convey to patients and patient advocates that they are not forgotten. We never lost focus on metastatic breast cancer, we never stopped working on metastatic breast cancer, and we have published exciting new research in this time period,” says Dr. Ewald.
Ewald’s research aims to use advanced imaging to see and understand at the single-cell level how and when metastasis happens. Understanding this process will give us more exact, tailored treatment options. As Dr. Ewald explained it, one way to think about the puzzle his research aims to solve is to think of a room full of women – some five feet tall, some five-ten. While not one woman in the room is 5’5” that may be their average height.
In designing cancer treatment plans, we often design for how the “average” cell in a tumor behaves, even if that behavior doesn’t apply to any one individual cell. This research hopes to identify the processes and behavior of those individual cells to give us a more accurate picture of what is happening at the moment of metastatic activity.
Ewald’s lab was able to anticipate the Covid-19 crisis, and was laser focused in the first part of this year on getting key experiments done so that they could pivot to manuscript writing during the shutdown. They never stopped (not for a day) working on metastatic breast cancer. Consequently, they have exciting new papers coming out for which Hope Scarves support was essential. And they will be back in the lab (in shifts, with masks, socially distanced) within the next two weeks. In Dr. Ewald’s own words: “Breast cancer will still be here after COVID-19 has faded into memory and so our focus and resolution remain high.”
Help continue Dr. Ewald’s research and remind cancer patients Hope Isn’t Canceled by sponsoring a Hope Scarf for $30/month as part of our Hope Isn’t Canceled Sustainability Campaign. Our goal is to send 400 Hope Scarves each month – please join us!