UM Battles Breast Cancer

The UM Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center created the Braman Breast Cancer Institute last week thanks in part to a $5 million dollar gift from the Norman and Irma Braman Family Foundation.
“It is especially important for the University of Miami to have such an institute for many reasons, not the least being that the rate of breast cancer mortality in the state of Florida is among the nation’s highest,” Dr. Joyce Slingerland, director of the new institute, said.
“Breast cancer is something we all care about; it’s something we all worry about,” Irma Braman said. “Our hope is that someday breast cancer will be treated more effectively, so that every patient will be given increased length and quality of life.”
The Braman family owns eight auto dealerships throughout South Florida and Denver.
“Norman and Irma Braman’s generous gift will lead to important innovations in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment,” President Donna E. Shalala said.
“We will create a multi-layered, state-of-the-art institute to deliver the best possible breast cancer care to Miami and the region,” said Dr. Joseph Rosenblatt, scientific director of the UM Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. “The institute will also conduct cutting-edge research to advance international knowledge of the causes of breast cancer and to develop new means of prevention, diagnosis and treatment.”
According to the American Cancer Society, one in eight women will be affected by breast cancer at some point in their life. An estimated 200,000 U.S. women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and roughly 40,000 will die from it.
Slingerland is a world-renowned breast cancer researcher who was previously at the University of Toronto Her work is focused on breast cancer cell research.
“The hiring of Dr. Slingerland is an enormous catalyst,” said Dr. W. Jarrard Goodwin, director of the UM Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. “She has impeccable scientific credentials, including widely published discoveries about the role of cell-cycle regulators in breast cancer.”
“Many of the women receiving treatment at our center develop a very aggressive form of breast cancer at a younger age,” Slingerland said. “There may be new genetic markers that signal this predisposition, and this knowledge may allow us not only to devise new diagnostic tests that allow earlier breast cancer detection, but also to generate new forms of treatment.”
Reaction from students and community members has been positive.
“I cannot even begin to express the impact that cancer has on those who I have known that are affected by it,” said senior Raquel Gomez-Calderon, a former candy-striper volunteer at Miami Children’s Hospital. “Nobody should be worried about dying of cancer; they should be worried about living and enjoying every single day to the fullest.”
“I hope that this new institute will pave the way for developments toward the cure of this disease,” Gomez-Calderon said.
Suzanne Rodriguez stresses the importance of cancer research and of raising money to develop new treatments for the disease.
“As a breast cancer survivor, I appreciate all of the people who have worked hard and donated money towards cancer research,” Rodriguez said. “I also believe that if it were not for that money I would not be alive today to share many special moments with my kids.
“Thanks to cancer research, I will be able to live another day and will be able to fullfill my dream of living to an old age.”

Jorge Arauz can be contacted at