How Your Donation Helps

The beneficiary for Lee National Denim Day® is the American Cancer Society, the largest voluntary health organization in the United States, which is passionately committed to finishing the fight against breast cancer and all cancers. Donations help the American Cancer Society save lives by funding groundbreaking cancer research; providing free, comprehensive information and support to those touched by breast cancer; and helping people take steps to reduce their breast cancer risk or find it early when it's most treatable. The American Cancer Society does the most for people with breast cancer today to end the disease tomorrow. Your support will help make it possible to end breast cancer once and for all.

Lifechanging Research

The American Cancer Society has dedicated billions to cancer research and has played a role in nearly every cancer research breakthrough in recent history. In 2015, the Society will continue to use donations from Lee National Denim Day to help fund breast cancer research, programs, and services. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society's efforts have contributed to a 35 percent drop in the breast cancer mortality rate and a 22 percent decline in the overall cancer mortality rate in the past two decades and more than a 50 percent drop in smoking rates since the mid-1960s.  Learn More about more about projects the Society funds.

Lee National Denim Day Grant Profile Summaries

Kun Cheng, PHD

Targeted Delivery of IKBKE siRNA for Breast Cancer Therapy
University of Missouri - Kansas City

Breast cancer is the most common female cancer (other than skin cancer) in the United States, and gene therapy is an innovative strategy to correct the functions of abnormal genes that cause breast cancer. In this proposal, Dr. Cheng will test the effects of inhibiting a gene called IKBKE. Inappropriately high levels of IKBKE can contribute to the rapid growth of breast tumor cells. Dr. Cheng’s research will test the use of a recently discovered interfering RNA called siRNA, which may stop the growth of breast cancer cells.

Dr. Cheng’s overall hypothesis is that breast cancer can be treated by the specific delivery of a siRNA drug to tumor cells using nanotechnology for drug delivery. If successful, the project will provide a new and efficient therapeutic option for breast cancer patients, and could be readily expanded to include the inhibition of many individual genes important to a wide range of cancers.

Sarah Donnelly, Ph.D.

Differential Regulation of Invadopodial Dynamics by Rac isoforms
Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University

Over 90% of deaths from cancer result from metastasis of the original or primary tumor and its spread around the body, forming new tumors at distant sites. In order to metastasize, cells must escape from the primary tumor and invade into the surrounding tissue. The cell then moves toward nearby blood vessels and uses these as highways to spread around the body. In order to move away from the tumor and begin this process, many cells form specialized structures called invadopodia. These protrude from the surface of the cell and secrete enzymes that can degrade the surrounding tissue so that the cell can move.

In this proposal, Dr. Donnelley will investigate how a particular protein called Rac3 regulates the formation of invadopodia in breast cancer cells. Rac3 appears to promote both the formation and function of invadopodia and, thus she is interested in understanding how this protein is turned on and off in the cell. To determine this, Dr. Donnelly will use a novel tool called a biosensor to record the on or off state of this protein in live cells. With this information she can then understand what signals control whether Rac3 is on or off and how this affects the formation of invadopodia. Ultimately, Dr. Donnelley believes this will provide us a deeper understanding of the detailed mechanisms that control invadopodia formation and function, which in turn will lead to the development of new therapies to inhibit these structures and thus prevent metastasis.

Lela Lackey, PhD

RNA Structure Mutations in Ovarian and Breast Cancers
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Mutations in key genes are highly associated with certain forms of breast and ovarian cancers. Most of the efforts to find specific drugs for those cancers have focused on targets that include the proteins and signaling pathways involving the mutated genes. Dr. Lackey has proposed a novel way of finding potential new targets for chemotherapy drugs. Since mutations in these genes often result in mutations in the RNAs encoding those genes, and the structures of those RNAs are critical to their functions, Dr. Lackey will examine the effects of those mutations on the structures and functions of those key RNAs. Different structures could yield potential new targets for chemotherapy and a better understanding of how those mutations result in cancers.