Sixth Annual Women & Wine Event Raises Funds for Breast Cancer Research

April 22, 2011

From left to right:  Shawna Willey, MD, Jennifer Griffin, and Claudine Isaacs, MD
From left to right: Shawna Willey, MD, Jennifer Griffin, and Claudine Isaacs, MD

Two hundred and fifty local women gathered at Morton’s Steakhouse in Washington, DC on April 5, 2011 for the 6th annual Women & Wine event. The annual fundraiser, organized by Georgetown Lombardi’s Office of Advancement and the National Cancer Prevention Fund, brings together area business women and friends to raise money for the Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Claudine Isaacs, MD, associate professor in the departments of Medicine and Oncology and co-director of the Breast Cancer Program at Georgetown Lombardi, and Shawna Willey, MD, co-director of the Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Surgery Center at Georgetown University Hospital (GUH) provided an update on the latest breakthroughs in breast cancer research and treatment followed by a Q & A session with attendees.

Isaacs gave highlights from ongoing breast cancer research projects including research by Jennifer Eng-Wong, MD, into the use of metformin, an FDA-approved drug that is currently used to control glucose levels in patients with diabetes, as a preventative treatment for breast cancer.

It has been suggested that metformin reduces the likelihood of breast cancer development in some women, and if given before chemotherapy, there has been evidence that is may increase the chance of tumor shrinkage. Eng-Wong is working in collaboration with the University of California San Francisco to increase the accrual of patients into this ongoing clinical trial.

The evening included a silent auction where lavish vacation packages and a range of Tiffany & Co. jewelry were available for bidding. All items included in the auction are donated by local companies and individuals. The most sought after items included two round-trip tickets to Paris, France and a watercolor painting by local artist Julie Lansaw.

After dinner, the evening’s emcee, Greta Kreuz of WJLA-TV, presented the 2011 Spirit of Life Award, given to a woman that “exemplified hope to all who meet her,” to Jennifer Griffin, Fox News Correspondent and co-author of a recently released book titled “This Burning Land: Lessons from the Front Lines of the Transformed Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.”

Griffin received a diagnosis of stage 3 triple-negative breast cancer on September 28, 2009 after discovering a lump in her right breast while she was in the process of weaning her then six-month-old son. She immediately met with Isaacs at Georgetown Lombardi.

Of her treatment at Georgetown, Griffin says, “A lot of places that you go don’t necessarily do chemotherapy first, but Georgetown is on the cutting-edge of that. I am so grateful that I talked to them when I did.”

Griffin received an “all clear” on April 20, 2010 – her 41st birthday—and exactly one year prior to the 6th Annual Women & Wine event. Griffin is currently promoting her new book on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict co-written with her husband throughout her chemotherapy sessions at Georgetown Lombardi.

Author: Nkem T. Wellington