December 5, 2019

Balko lands Mary Kay Foundation grant for breast cancer research

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center’s Justin Balko, PharmD, PhD, has received a $100,000 research grant from the Mary Kay Foundation.


by Tom Wilemon

Justin Balko, PharmD, PhD, assistant professor of Medicine and leader of Molecular Oncology at the Center for Cancer Targeted Therapies at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, has received a $100,000 research grant from the Mary Kay Foundation.

Justin Balko, PharmD, PhD

The funding will support his research into the cooperative role of JAK2 and PD-L1 in driving 9p24 amplified breast cancer aggressiveness and response.

“We are incredibly honored to receive this research support,” Balko said. “Foundations like the Mary Kay Foundation provide critical funding that really helps advance high risk early projects into meaningful advances in the field. We are excited to begin working toward new discoveries in the area that aid the lives of breast cancer patients.”

After reviewing more than 70 applications, the foundation’s research review committee awarded 11 grants totaling $1.1 million this year.

“We’ve seen previous grants lead to innovative breakthroughs in the study of breast, uterine, cervical and ovarian cancers and are excited to see the research contributions of this year’s recipients,” said Michael Lunceford, president of the Mary Kay Foundation Board of Directors. “By continuing support for these scientists and institutions, we know we are continuing to better the lives of women everywhere.”

In addition to the $1.1 million in research grants, the foundation also awarded $2 million in increments of $20,000 to 100 domestic violence shelters across the country. Since 1996, the foundation has contributed more than $80 million to organizations involved in cancer research and preventing domestic violence.