Dr. Rachel Buchsbaum named Diane Connolly-Zaniboni Scholar
Funds raised by Cure Breast Cancer license plate will be used to continue important research

(Boston, MA) - Rachel Buchsbaum, MD, today was named the first Diane Connolly-Zaniboni Scholar in Breast Cancer Research at Tufts Medical Center. Sales of the Cure Breast Cancer license plate through the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles will provide Dr. Buchsbaum with $120,000 to help support her research for the next two years. Dr. Buchsbaum is studying experimental models of how breast cancers invade tissues.

Tufts Medical Center President and CEO Ellen Zane, Registrar of Motor Vehicles Rachel Kaprielian, and Richard Van Etten, MD, Tufts Medical Center's Chief of Hematology and Oncology, made the announcement at an event at Tufts Medical Center that honored the 3,652 purchasers of the plates so far who have raised $180,000 for research. Dr. Buchsbaum's research is being supported as part of the Diane Connolly-Zaniboni Breast Cancer Research Program, which will also sponsor an annual lecture about breast cancer research.

Diane Connolly-Zaniboni was a Tufts Medical Center patient and South Boston mom who lost her battle with inflammatory breast cancer in 2000 at the age of 39. After Diane's death, a group of friends led by Deb McNeill and Janice Connolly-Laubenstein launched an effort to create a license plate that would raise funds to support research in her memory. They unveiled the plate two years ago in October 2006.

"We are deeply grateful to the friends of Diane Connolly-Zaniboni for their leadership in bringing this license plate initiative to fruition, to Registrar Rachel Kaprielian and the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles for their support, and to the thousands of Massachusetts residents who have purchased a Cure Breast Cancer license plate," Zane said. "A car with a Cure Breast Cancer license plate reminds breast cancer survivors and patients that they are not alone, and funds from the sale of the plates go directly to life-saving research."

"The Patrick administration is proud to partner and support groups like the Cure Breast Cancer non-profit because the ultimate beneficiaries of their work aren't just the people who register this specialty plate," said Registrar Kaprielian. "Breast cancer patients, survivors, their families, the health care industry and even state government all have a stake in the battle to wipe out this cancer."

"Ground-breaking research simply cannot happen without substantial financial support," said Van Etten. "By paying just a little bit more to keep their cars registered, those purchasing a Cure Breast Cancer license plate are contributing directly to research that, we hope, will one day lead to a cure. We felt it was important to hold an event to inform those who purchased the plate exactly where their money is being invested."

Tufts Medical Center sent letters inviting some 2,200 of the initial purchasers of the plates to the event. Information about buying a plate can be found at http://www.massrmv.com/OnlineServices.aspx.

"The kind of breast cancer that Diane Connolly-Zaniboni had is particularly prone to invading tissues and spreading to other organs, which is what makes it so deadly. The work we are doing in my lab is focused on understanding the precise steps that enable breast cancers to invade and spread in this fashion," Buchsbaum said. "What the friends and family of Diane have done in leading this initiative is just as important as any scientific breakthrough, because funding makes these breakthroughs possible."

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