The Breast Cancer Research Foundation Marks 25 Years of Lifesaving Discoveries


Twenty-five years ago, Evelyn H. Lauder and Dr. Larry Norton recognized the urgent need to eradicate breast cancer. As they sat at the Lauder kitchen table discussing how to achieve their shared dream of a world free of breast cancer, they envisioned the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. 

Evelyn believed that the only obstacle to achieving a cure was funding for research and saw BCRF as an opportunity to propel research and discoveries forward, faster. Together with the guidance and support of her dear friend and revered medical oncologist, Dr. Norton, they launched the Foundation in 1993. In its first year, BCRF supported eight scientists. This year, BCRF is awarding $63 million in grants to more than 300 researchers and stands as the largest private funder of breast cancer research in the world. BCRF will announce this record-breaking investment in research at its Annual Symposium and Awards Luncheon on October 25, 2018.

Today, led by the vision of an esteemed Board of Directors comprised of trailblazers in business, media, and philanthropy, with Co-chairs William Lauder and Kinga Lampert, and Honorary Chair Leonard Lauder, at the helm, BCRF continues to be the leader in advancing the world’s most promising research. With Myra Biblowit serving as BCRF President and CEO for the last 17 years, the Foundation has also achieved wide recognition as the country’s most efficient and highest-rated nonprofit breast cancer organization.

BCRF’s support of the greatest minds in science has unquestionably propelled innovative, creative research that is moving the dial closer to a cure. Since 1993, BCRF-supported investigators have been deeply involved in every major breakthrough in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, and metastasis. A few game-changing discoveries include:

Breast cancer is not one but many diseases.

It was BCRF researchers who found that breast cancer is, in fact, several diseases, each of which develops, progresses, and responds to therapies differently. 

Genetics can predict breast cancer risk.

BCRF has supported key players in advancing our understanding of the inheritable risk of breast cancer, from discoveries about BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations to the creation of the world’s most comprehensive database of breast cancer genes. 

Lifestyle behaviors may reduce breast cancer risk.

BCRF researchers have begun to understand how diet and exercise are linked to breast cancer risk and survival, how inflammation from obesity may trigger breast cancer development, and how a low-fat diet and weight loss can reduce the risk of recurrence.

Personalized, targeted therapy is now the standard of care. 

BCRF scientists have contributed significantly to the development of precision medicine and individualized therapies, resulting in better, more effective treatments and fewer side effects. 

Today there are more than 3.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States and deaths from breast cancer have declined by nearly 40% over the last 25 years. But with 40,000 lives lost to the disease each year, there is still critical work to be done.

BCRF is moving closer than ever before to achieving Evelyn’s dream—ending breast cancer—and celebrating the generation of men and women who will never have to know the disease that has changed, and taken, so many lives. 

For more about the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and its Annual Symposium and Awards Luncheon, visit