New! Mothers who have or have had breast cancer. Participants are mothers who have/have had breast cancer and have either fresh or frozen breastmilk they are willing to donate. For more information about this study, and to participate, call Beth Punska at (413) 545-0813, or email.
African American mothers study: Participants are African American nursing mothers who live anywhere in the U.S. 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.
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.
Colostrum study: Participants are nursing mothers expecting to have a home birth, living within a 50 mile radius of Amherst, Massachusetts. Participants donate a sample of colostrum and a sample of breastmilk at 1 month postpartum. For more information about this study, and to participate, contact Tanya Lieberman at (413) 570-0587, or by email.
How to participate: Contact us through the information below. 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.
Benefits of 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 theraputic strategies for all women.
Download documents for the African American Mothers study:
Download documents for the Breast Biopsy study:
Download documents for the colostrum study: