Transforming the Standard of Care for GI Cancer
The mission of the Otto J. Ruesch Center for the Cure of Gastrointestinal Cancers is moving closer to reality with a recent $1.1-million pledge from the Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation. The pledge, and the relationship between the two organizations, was celebrated at a reception held June 21, 2012 at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, which houses the Ruesch Center.
In attendance were Michael Sapienza, president of Chris4Life, and most of the organization’s board. Georgetown Lombardi Director Louis M. Weiner, MD, and Ruesch Center Director John L. Marshall, MD, were among those on hand to express their gratitude for the support.
Jeanne Ruesch, whose family established the center through a 2009 gift in memory of her husband Otto, also attended to celebrate the relationship.
The funds will help the Ruesch Center pursue its mission of transforming the standard of care for all patients with gastrointestinal cancers through highly effective and individualized new therapies.
“The gift from the Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation is an amazing source of support that will help us pilot new therapies for gastrointestinal cancers, moving us closer to our organizations' mutual goal of finding a cure for these deadly diseases,” says Marshall, a renowned oncologist and professor at Georgetown Lombardi who specializes in cancers of the digestive tract.
The type of translational research undertaken at the Ruesch Center is novel and does not readily attract government and pharmaceutical company funding. This pledge will enable the Ruesch Center to study patients' responses to “molecularly-tailored therapies” involving analysis of patient tumor tissue and blood for the degree of expression of specific biomarkers. This analysis, in turn, guides the selection of patient chemotherapy regimens.
“Through participation in clinical trials, our patients are becoming part of the answer to the question of why their response differs from that of other patients," Marshall says.
For more information on the Ruesch Center for the Cure of Gastrointestinal Cancers, visit www.rueschcenter.org.
By Lauren Wolkoff
Georgetown Lombardi Communications
(July 2, 2012)