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Komen press conference highlights UT Dental Branch research

Houston—The Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation kicked off the city's largest foot race and breast cancer research fundraiser at the University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston July 31.

The largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer, the foundation selected the Dental Branch because of the school's research on using saliva to detect breast cancer at very early stages.

Earlier this year, Komen for the Cure awarded an Investigator-Initiated Research Grant of just over $380,000 to support the work of lead researcher Dr. Charles Streckfus. In early studies, Dr. Streckfus and colleagues found that certain proteins in saliva can indicate the presence of breast cancer or benign tumors, and distinguish between them. The study is currently being repeated with a larger number of patients.

Work is also under way to develop an easy, affordable way to administer the saliva test outside the laboratory. Dr. Streckfus is believed to be the first dentist to receive a Komen grant.

The 18th annual Komen Houston Race for the Cure takes place Oct. 4. For more information, visit www.komen-houston.org.