Frontiers Pelotonia Special Edition 2017

The Director's Perspective

Imagine your frustration if a bright idea popped into your head—an idea that could help many of people—but you had no means of pursuing it. Instead, it could only flit erratically in your mind like a moth around a porch light, benefiting no one.

Brilliant scientists and students who have innovative ideas that might benefit people with cancer can relate to this scenario. They may have creative insights into how cancer happens, but following up on it would be costly, and federal research funding for cancer has been flat for years. It’s become difficult for these innovators— particularly students and junior faculty investigators—to obtain the resources they need to launch their promising projects. Their ambitions are stifled; global progress against this disease is hindered.

Fortunately, thanks to a generous and caring community, we have Pelotonia, our local, annual grassroots bicycle tour, to help fill some of this funding gap. Pelotonia has raised millions of dollars to support cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).

Since Pelotonia’s first cycling tour in 2009, riders, virtual riders and donors in this internationally known event have raised more than $130 million, every cent of which goes directly to cancer research at Ohio State. This is possible thanks to our generous funding partners, who underwrite Pelotonia’s administrative costs.

A large share of the money raised by the event nurtures the next generation of cancer researchers through fellowships awarded to Ohio State students in all disciplines and levels of scholarship, providing them an opportunity to do cancer research in the labs of faculty mentors. Pelotonia revenue also supports “Idea Grants” that enable teams of faculty scientists to undertake innovative proof-of-concept projects. Idea Grant recipients can then publish their findings and use them to apply for larger grants to conduct more definitive studies.

I extend my sincerest gratitude to everyone who plays a part in Pelotonia: riders, donors, volunteers, planners, coordinators, communicators, funding partners, roadside well-wishers—the list goes on. Pelotonia helps fuel our shared pursuit of a cancer-free world. The road ahead may be long, but through your combined efforts and support, it grows shorter every year.

Financial Review

Riders, virtual riders and donors in Pelotonia 16, the eighth installment of an annual grassroots bicycle tour that generates money for cancer research at Ohio State, raised a record $24,104,432 and boosted the eight-year total for this event.

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Research Highlights

The OSUCCC – James has invested $4 million in Pelotonia funds to launch a second and a third statewide initiative—one taking aim at lung cancer, the No. 1 cancer killer among men and women in the United States, and the other targeting endometrial (uterine) cancer, one of the few cancers rising with incidence and death rates in this county.

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Training the Next Generation

The Pelotonia Fellowship Program annually allots $2 million to help promising Ohio State students in any discipline or level of scholarship who want to conduct cancer research in the labs of OSUCCC – James faculty mentors.

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Researcher Rides in Memory and in Gratitude

Yael Vodovotz, PhD, an OSUCCC – James researcher, has ridden in Pelotonia every year since the event began in 2009, except for last year when she had to participate as a virtual rider.

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Going Bold

Twice a year, OSUCCC – James researchers compete for Pelotonia Idea Grants, which provide two years of funding to teams of OSUCCC – James scientists who propose novel ways to approach difficult problems.

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Surgical Oncologist Rides for His Patients

Tim Pawlik, MD, MPH, PhD, is excited about his impending 50-mile ride in Pelotonia 17 despite having almost no time to prepare for it.

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Cancer Survivor Finds Hope in Pelotonia Pedaling

Aaron Conley’s devotion to the Pelotonia goal of ending cancer stems from his own journey as a cancer survivor and from the cancer journey of a friend who died last year.

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From Ideas to Impact

Pelotonia funds help support groundbreaking preliminary studies at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).

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New Hope

Clinical trials evaluate the safety and effectiveness of new treatments and study ways to improve those treatments. In this manner, clinical trials improve cancer care and bring renewed hope to patients.

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Drug Development Institute

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center (OSUCCC) is a place where discovery is focused on understanding how cancer works and how we might beat it.

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Digital Pathology

An accurate, timely diagnosis is the first step in every cancer patient’s treatment. Pathologists have traditionally placed diseased tissue on glass slides and examined them under a microscope, but glass slides are difficult for pathologists to share with colleagues and have other problems.

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Bringing the Best Research to Ohio State

The OSUCCC – James attracts some of the brightest minds in cancer research, and Pelotonia dollars help them continue their studies when they arrive.

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