Researcher FAQ

How did the Love Research Army get started?

Dr. Susan Love, like many members of the breast cancer community, was frustrated by the slow advancements in learning what causes breast cancer and how to prevent it. In order to learn more about the causes, prevention, and treatment of cancer, researchers need to work with volunteers to explore possible solutions. Scientists, however, told Dr. Love that they did not know how to find people who would be interested in taking part in the studies that were needed to end this disease. Without people to participate in studies, new and innovative research solutions are impossible.

Dr. Love realized that people want to help find breast cancer solutions and are willing to participate in studies—they just didn't know they were needed! From this, the idea was born of an Love Research Army, ready to serve science.

Is this the same program as the Army of Women?

Yes! In 2020, after recognizing over 11 years as the Army of Women, we changed our name to Love Research Army to better reflect the Dr. Susan Love Foundation's longstanding commitment to fostering inclusive research. You may see references to the Army of Women, or AOW, in previous study reports, webinars, and publications.

Why is it called the Love Research Army?

We want to raise breast cancer research and the search for a cause to a new level—one that will take a lot of people to accomplish. The word "army" means a large group of people united for a specific purpose. We feel this aptly describes the volunteers who are ready and willing to participate: a dedicated army, seeking to end breast cancer once and for all.

How does the Love Research Army work and how do I apply to utilize it for recruitment?

All researchers interested in using the Love Research Army as a recruitment resource must register with the Love Research Army and submit a study proposal. We accept requests for letters of support for studies that are in the process of applying for funding, and requests for participant recruitment for studies that have already secured funding.

For requests for letters of support, the Foundation's research team will review the proposal and, if approved, provide a letter and pricing information for your funding application.

For requests for participant recruitment, the Foundation's research team and members of our external Scientific Advisory Committee—comprised of both researchers and advocates—will review each proposal, ensuring that the study is feasible for the Love Research Army and is ethical and safe in its design. Researchers whose studies are approved will collaborate with the Foundation's research team to create content to display on the Love Research Army website, and also to broadcast through our email blasts and social media platforms. Before we open recruitment for any study, we require documentation of the IRB's approval of all materials.

Once the Foundation receives confirmation of IRB approval, recruitment for the study will launch! Members of the Love Research Army can self-select to participate and will go through an online screening process to qualify for the study. We want to ensure that investigators are connected with qualified candidates for their study. To facilitate this goal, researchers can opt-in to have interested participants go through an initial online screening process. Participants who self-select and are deemed appropriate are then connected with the research team conducting the study.

Love Research Army participants who RSVP for a study will agree to have their contact information shared with the researcher for the sole purpose of screening and scheduling. Researchers agree not to share volunteer contact information or biologic samples with third parties or use the samples for purposes other than those outlined in the protocol for which the Love Research Army volunteer consented and the Dr. Susan Love Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee approved.

Can for-profit companies have access to the Love Research Army?

Yes, researchers at for-profit companies can recruit for their studies via the Love Research Army. Their proposals are held to the same high standard as any other researcher submitting a proposal and will undergo an extensive review by both the Foundation's research team as well as members of our Scientific Advisory Committee.

What is the IRB approval policy?

The Love Research Army requires researchers to agree to follow the provisions of the "Common Rule" (45CFR46) federal human subjects regulations and obtain Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval before receiving biological samples or access to the Love Research Army for their research. While these regulations currently do not apply to institutions that do not receive federal support, the Love Research Army policy requires all researchers utilizing the Love Research Army to follow the Common Rule.

Researchers will be required to obtain the appropriate IRB approval from their institution's IRB prior to recruitment.

If the researcher does not have an established IRB at his or her institution/organization, the researcher should use a central IRB. Alternatively, a researcher may use the services of the AAHRPP. For an accredited list of IRBs see AAHRPP's accredited organizations.

All researchers should be aware of how the federal human subjects' regulations apply to the use of human biological samples. If you are unfamiliar with the IRB approval process and would like guidance on how to proceed, please contact us at army@drsusanloveresearch.org.

How can a researcher use the Love Research Army in the grant proposal while applying for funding?

Researchers can submit their proposal to the Love Research Army when writing a grant for funding. If the study appears appropriate and is approved by the Foundation's research team, a letter of support and pricing information will be sent for inclusion in the proposal. If the proposal is funded, the researcher will submit a secondary application through the Love Research Army website. At that point, the Dr. Susan Love Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee will review the study and it will either be accepted or rejected based on the capabilities of the Love Research Army at that time.

What types of studies does the Army support?

Studies range from those investigating the causes of breast cancer and how to prevent it, to quality of life issues experienced during and after treatment, to drugs for prevention or treatment of metastatic breast cancer. Love Research Army participants can self-select the studies that interest them and for which they are eligible.

How will I know that the Love Research Army represents the population I need?

The Love Research Army is open to people of all ages, ethnicities, and breast cancer risk. When volunteers sign up for the Love Research Army, they indicate their name, city, state, country, year of birth and ethnicity. This allows us to provide researchers with an overall picture of the population available for recruitment. New participants are recruited from a variety of resources, including social media, referrals from current Love Research Army members, newsletters, and partnerships with other organizations.

What are the responsibilities of the researcher?

The Love Research Army is a true partnership between prospective participants and the scientific community. All researchers working with Love Research Army volunteers must be willing to explain the rationale and answer questions about their research study. After the study is completed, researchers must participate in a webinar or provide a blog that outlines their findings.

How much will it cost to access the Love Research Army?

Researchers are charged a one-time fee of $3,000, which covers all recruitment activities through the Love Research Army. Our services include displaying the study on the Love Research Army website, broadcasting the study via email to Love Research Army members as well as on our social media platforms, providing support to prospective research participants by answering questions regarding study procedures and criteria on behalf of researchers, highlighting the study in the Foundation’s newsletters and blogs by Dr. Susan Love and other Foundation staff.

Please contact army@drsusanloveresearch.org for a comprehensive outline of our services.

How is the privacy of the volunteers maintained?

All researchers who recruit from the Love Research Army agree to follow the strict confidentiality guidelines enforced nationwide by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Will the Love Research Army maintain confidentiality regarding my protocol and associated information?

Yes, the Love Research Army will maintain confidentiality regarding any shared information.

Does the Love Research Army give out research grants?

At this time, the Love Research Army is not a funding source. Grants and funding must be solicited from other sources.

I am registered as a researcher. Can I also sign up as a participant?

We welcome all researchers to also sign up as participants. To sign up as a participant, you must log out and create a participant account. You will need to use a different email address than your researcher account.

Why did the Avon Foundation for Women provide seed funding for this initiative?

The Avon Foundation for Women is one of the largest private funders of breast cancer research. As a result, they understood how difficult it can be for researchers to find volunteers for research studies. They recognized the need for the Love Research Army and provided a grant to the Dr. Susan Love Foundation to make it happen.

Is the Love Research Army a tissue bank?

The Love Research Army does not bank tissue. Rather than collect tissue with the technology of today that may or may not serve for the technology for tomorrow, the Love Research Army allows scientists to collect what they need when they need it