We in Ohio State’s cancer program are committed to creating a cancer-free world, one person, one discovery at a time. Some say that’s an impossible dream, but my response to them is the same as what the Mad Hatter told Alice in the latest “Wonderland” movie when she thought something was impossible: “Only if you believe it is.”
In 2011 we continued our pursuit of a world without cancer as we celebrated both the 40th anniversary of the 1971 signing of the National Cancer Act and the 35th anniversary of Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC), which was first designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 1976.
Our most recent NCI redesignation, in 2010, came with that agency’s highest rating – “exceptional” – and in 2011 we learned that our rating had earned us an NCI support grant of $23 million, a 16-percent increase over our previous support grant. So at a time when federal funding for cancer research is dwindling, and many cancer centers are seeing their NCI core funding decrease, ours has increased, a testament to the promise that the NCI sees in our research, clinical and community programs.
In looking back at 1971 when the global “war on cancer” was officially launched, and then glancing forward through the progress made since then, we should be heartened to see that survival rates are significantly up and that some cancers are now curable or, at the very least, managed as a chronic illness rather than a life-taking disease.
Ohio State’s cancer program, which predates the National Cancer Act and our subsequent CCC designation, is playing a large role in that progress, as our more than 270 researchers study this disease at the molecular level to make discoveries that translate into innovative patient care tailored to each person’s unique biological makeup.
Much of this vital work goes unseen, but there are also plainly visible signs of our progress, not the least of which has been the rise of steel beams for our new 276-bed James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, which is targeted for completion in 2014. The design of this facility will allow for close interaction among researchers, clinicians and educators, hastening the process of discovery and treatment.
Also in 2011, we opened our state-of-the-art Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center, the only facility of its kind in the Midwest to offer in one location the full continuum of breast cancer care, from prevention and screening through detection, diagnosis and treatment. In addition, we began “building out” two more floors for cancer research in Ohio State’s Biomedical Research Tower.
Central to the success of any cause – especially one as huge as conquering cancer – is getting people to join you. In our grassroots bicycle tour called Pelotonia, we have done just that. Our third annual Pelotonia in August 2011 attracted nearly 5,000 riders who, along with numerous donors, generated $13.1 million for cancer research at the OSUCCC – James, bringing our three-year fundraising total from this event to $25.47 million. With so many people rolling along with us and contributing to our recent successes – a few of which are chronicled in this 2011 Accomplishments Report – we have to believe that our shared vision of a cancer-free world is far from impossible.
Michael A. Caligiuri, MD
Director, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center
CEO, The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute
To download the full PDF of the 2011 Accomplishments Report, click here.
Take a look at our video celebrating 40 years of cancer research!