Emily Ray, MD, MPH, received a Young Investigator Award to support her breast cancer research.
UNC Lineberger’s Emily Ray, MD, MPH.

The Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, in conjunction with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, has presented a Young Investigator Award to UNC Lineberger’s Emily Ray, MD, MPH.

Ray, who is an assistant professor of medicine in the division of hematology/oncology at UNC School of Medicine, will use the one year, $50,000 award to help support her work to develop predictive models that accurately determine breast cancer prognosis in late stage breast cancer patients.

Decisions about end-of-life care are difficult for patients, their families, and doctors to make. For breast cancer patients, who often live longer under hospice care, there is a temptation to continue with more aggressive therapy in the absence of a clear prognosis of continued survival.

Existing prognostic tools, which aim to help clinicians in making these determinations, were developed using cohorts of hospitalized patients and included few breast cancer patients. As such, they have limited applicability to breast cancer patients in the oncology clinic where most of the treatment decisions are made.

Ray and her colleagues will create a breast cancer-specific prognostic tool to assess risk of death so at-risk patients can avoid unnecessary treatments.

Since 2001, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation has supported the career development of tomorrow’s leading physician-scientists in breast cancer through its partnership with the Conquer Cancer Foundation. Without funding, early-career scientists cannot gain the independence they need to make significant contributions to breast cancer research and impact patients’ lives.