Thank you for your interest in donating milk for our research! We are currently looking for participants for several different studies:
African American mothers study: Participants are African American nursing mothers who live anywhere in the U.S., and send in a single breastmilk sample from each breast. This study is funded by the Avon Foundation for Women. For more information about this study, and to participate, call Beth Punska at (413) 545-0813, or email.
Mothers who have or have had breast cancer study. Participants are nursing mothers living anywhere in the U.S. who have/have had breast cancer and can donate fresh or frozen breastmilk. For more information about this study, and to participate, call Beth Punska at (413) 545-0813, or email.
Breast biopsy study: Participants are nursing mothers who are expecting to have a breast biopsy, and live anywhere in the U.S. This study has been funded by the Department of Defense. For more information about this study, and to participate, contact Dr. Sarah Lenington, Recruitment Coordinator, at (413) 545-1037, or by email.
How to participate: Contact us through the information above. If you qualify to participate in the study you will be asked to complete a consent form and a questionnaire, and to donate a breastmilk sample(s). If you are participating in the biopsy study and donating a sample from outside of our area, your sample will be sent by overnight mail at no expense to you.
How your privacy is protected: Every effort will be made to protect your privacy. Your name will not be used in any of the research reports or publications prepared with results obtained from this study. All information obtained in this study that identifies who you are will be recorded with a code number, and all studies are approved by the Institutional Review Board of the University of Massachusetts.
Why participate in this research? Currently there is no good way to assess a woman's risk of getting breast cancer. For example, although family history is an important risk factor for developing breast cancer, most women who develop cancer have no family history, and most women with a family history do not develop breast cancer.
Our hope is that by examining molecular changes in cells found in breastmilk associated with various breast problems, we will be able to develop a specific, individualized tool for assessing an individual woman's risk of contracting this disease. Knowledge of the molecular changes in the breast cells that occur may be helpful in developing preventative and therapeutic strategies for all women.
Why African American moms? Our goal is to develop an assessment model of breast cancer risk for individuals. In our ongoing study we have about 400 women participating but only a few of these women are African American women. Increasing the participation of African American mothers in this research will ensure that its results apply to all women.