Safeway Foundation gives $2 million to UCSF for breast cancer support

By Vanessa deGier

Released Jointly by The Safeway Foundation and UCSF

The Safeway Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Safeway Inc., has given the UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center $2 million to fund a combination of research initiatives and the debut of a unique, national website designed to match breast cancer patients with clinical trials nationwide.

The clinical trial website represents a major advance in the ability of individuals to conveniently find appropriate breast cancer trials.  The research initiatives will directly benefit individuals who have or are at risk of developing breast cancer through their support of prevention, early detection, decision support tools and survivorship.  UCSF also will be providing Safeway employees with a suite of educational products and services relating to breast cancer.

“The Safeway Foundation has shown visionary and exemplary leadership in its commitment to raising awareness and funds for this critical health issue.  In addition, they are taking an active role to improve the care of their customers and employees,” said Laura Esserman, MD, MBA, professor and director of the UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center.  “This donation will enable us to accelerate our ability to conduct very important research on breast cancer prevention, treatment and survivorship with the ultimate aim of improving the outcomes for those patients facing a breast cancer diagnosis.”

The research and educational initiatives at UCSF supported by the Safeway Foundation have the potential to serve as models for other institutions, with the goals of further revolutionizing breast cancer research and treatment, improving outcomes by providing patients with access to more information and options, and engaging patients more actively in their individual care. 

“We are extremely fortunate to have developed this partnership with one of the leading and most innovative breast cancer centers in North America,” said Larree Renda, Safeway Inc. Executive Vice President, Chief Strategist and Administrative Officer and Chair of the Safeway Foundation. “It makes perfect sense for the Safeway Foundation and UCSF to unite our resources toward a common vision of improving the options and prognosis for women with breast cancer.”

## Creating a Healthy Partnership

The gift from the Safeway Foundation will be distributed among three project areas:

* Clinical trial website:
One of UCSF’s core missions is to increase awareness of clinical trials. Currently, only three to five percent of eligible breast cancer patients participate in trials.  Approximately half of the $2 million gift will launch the Breast Cancer Trials website, a national online clinical trial matching service developed by UCSF and operated by Quantum Leap Healthcare Collaborative, a nonprofit public benefit corporation. The mission of the website, which is expected to launch nationally in June, is to increase survival rates and quality of life for breast cancer patients by raising awareness of clinical trials so that patients considering trial participation are the norm rather than the exception. BCT will allow thousands of women from across the country to quickly and confidentially locate and learn about clinical trials underway anywhere in the United States. The site will screen a patient’s self-reported information against clinical trial eligibility requirements to provide users with a personalized list of trials for which they may be eligible to participate.
* Research initiatives:
The Safeway Foundation gift will be used to help determine better screening and detection procedures for precancerous lesions and to support the creation and testing of an innovative decision support tool.  In addition, the gift will accelerate research and support for UCSF’s growing survivor population through the implementation and testing of a comprehensive system for managing the health of patients who have survived breast cancer.  The program is designed to facilitate the transition from the acute stage of treatment to recovery.  A unique aspect of UCSF’s program is the surveillance of patient’s physical and emotional health via an online health survey.
* Education information services:
UCSF’s Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center will work with the Safeway Foundation to help the company develop its own breast cancer suite of services designed to provide Safeway employees and their immediate families with relevant, up-to-date information and assistance regarding the prevention and treatment of breast cancer.  UCSF will work with the Safeway Foundation to create educational tools such as webinars, podcasts and health-related articles available via the Safeway employee website.

## The Safeway Foundation

Established with an initial grant by Safeway Inc. in 2001, the Safeway Foundation follows through on its vision with the creation of the Safeway Foundation. Contributions support hunger relief, education, people with disabilities, and health and human services. The Safeway Foundation is making a difference by improving the quality of life in the communities where we work and live.

## The UCSF Carol Franc Breast Care Center

The UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center provides specialized services by experts who are at the forefront of the field of breast health.  Whether women are seeking breast health screening, diagnostic procedures or treatment, the Center team addresses the unique and often complex needs of the patient, with the goal of tailoring treatment to biology, patient preference and clinical performance. Recognizing that cancer patients and their families have needs beyond the scope of clinical care, the Center also offers support groups, a healing garden, an active Art-for-Recovery Program and a resource center. Women also have access to clinical trials that are evaluating both traditional and alternative approaches to the treatment of breast cancer. 

## The UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health

The UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women’s has played a key role in transforming women’s health for more than a decade. Since its inception in 1996, the center has pioneered a new model of health care and has led innovations in clinical practice, rigorous women-focused research, professional training and community education. One of six institutions initially honored as a “National Center of Excellence” by the US Department of Health and Human Services in 1996, UCSF is also leading the way in women’s health care of the future. The UCSF Women’s Specialty Hospital at Mission Bay, scheduled to break ground in 2011 as part of a new Children’s, Women and Cancer Specialty Hospital, will offer an integrated and patient-centered approach to medical care and provide women with a lifetime of reproductive health, from puberty to menopause and beyond.

## UCSF: A Leader in Cancer Care

The UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center was designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute in 1999 in recognition of the highest level of excellence in both its scientific research and its ability to integrate diverse research approaches to focus on the problem of cancer and improve patient outcomes.  The Center ranks first in California and sixth nationwide in National Cancer Institute research grants and is home to pioneers in research into genetic, cellular and immune system causes and responses to cancer.

### Additional contact:

Brian Dowling, The Safeway Foundation (925) 467-3787