Breast Cancer Brain Metastasis Initiative

The Marina Kaplan Project

Learn more and get involved with our collaborative projects to educate stakeholders, advance research, and connect people to resources that can improve outcomes.

BCBM Initiative: The Marina Kaplan Project

A diagnosis of central nervous system (CNS) metastasis of the brain, or the linings of the brain and spinal cord known as leptomeningeal disease (LMD), has a worse prognosis and lower overall survival compared to patients with metastases in other organs. Incidence of brain metastasis is expected to increase, and with a disproportionate treatment response and debilitating side effects from the limited treatment options available, a patient-led initiative to address the lack of research in breast cancer brain metastasis (BCBM) and LMD is urgently needed.

The Marina Kaplan Project is a patient-led initiative that aims to accelerate urgently-needed research on breast cancer brain metastasis through increased funding and influencing key stakeholders.

The initiative is named in memory of Marina Kaplan, who lived with metastatic triple negative breast cancer for 6 years until her passing in January 2020. Diagnosed stage 2 in 2011, she progressed to stage 4 (metastatic) in December 2013. Marina underwent 14 lines of treatment for MBC (including 7 clinical trials) as well as proton therapy, and surgical and interventional radiology procedures. She had a happy and fulfilling career in population health/applied epidemiology and after retiring due to her diagnosis, became fully involved in advocacy. Marina was a patient advocate volunteer with Living Beyond Breast Cancer, Metavivor, the MBC Alliance, and Komen Advocates in Science. Her goal as a patient advocate was to support research for the treatment of MBC, improve access to clinical trials, and ensure high quality oncology healthcare for all patients with MBC. Any person living with cancer who was fortunate enough to cross paths with Marina would attest that her contributions towards that goal were immense.

The overarching goal of the project is the elimination of broad exclusions and/or expanded eligibility for people living with BCBM and Leptomeningeal Disease. We are continuing collaboration efforts with leading researchers to discuss their current work and to provide patient input into the clinical development efforts of Industry Partners.


The MBC Alliance is proud to partner with the American Brain Tumor Association, through its Metastatic Brain Tumor Collaborative, to enhance knowledge in the cancer community of metastatic brain tumor incidence and up-to-date treatment and support options.


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For more information, contact project lead, Christine Hodgdon.

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