As Founder & Chief Visionary Officer, Dr. Susan Love, MD, MBA advanced through her career as a breast surgeon she became increasingly frustrated by the fact that the research being performed on the breast and breast cancer was being done on mice and rats. “Not only do mice and rats not develop breast cancer naturally, but they do not represent the diverse human population who get breast cancer. We know very well that only mammals develop breast cancer naturally, and mice and rats do not. So why do some researchers prefer to “humanize” rodents rather than study humans?” asks Dr. Susan Love. When Dr. Love challenged the scientists, she was informed that it was easier to study rats and that researchers were unclear about how to find women willing to participate in breast cancer research.
In response, on October 1, 2008, Dr. Susan Love and Dr. Susan Love Foundation for Breast Cancer Research, with support from the Avon Foundation, launched The Army of Women. After only one month, they had over 264,000 people—women and men with and without breast cancer—in their virtual Army receiving emails regarding research opportunities. The Army of Women has served as a vital resource for breast cancer researchers, and a model for fast-tracking breast cancer research for over 10 years.
As the years went by, the Foundation recognized that the Army could help advance research in yet another way: fostering more inclusion in the types of people who take part in breast cancer research. Men, women, members of the LGBTQia+ community, and non-binary people all get breast cancer.
This year, in order to better reflect their longstanding commitment to fostering inclusive research, Dr. Susan Love Foundation for Breast Cancer Research has rebranded the Army of Women as Love Research Army. “It is the same Army, with the same goal; the only difference is the name,” says Dr. Susan Love, Chief Visionary Officer.
Christopher Clinton Conway, CEO of Dr. Susan Love Foundation for Breast Cancer Research says, “This year Charity Navigator and Medical News Today recognized us as the leader in breast cancer research. This rebranding visually reaffirms our progressive values and commitment to end breast cancer for all people.” The Foundation’s hope is that all those who have participated in this novel approach to recruitment for research studies will join in celebrating their success as they move into the new decade with a name that reflects the desire and intent to include everyone in the research pool to study and end breast cancer once and for all.