David Carbone, MD, PhD: Physician’s Exciting Work Inspires Donors

In the exclusive and competitive field of experts working to treat and cure lung cancer, David Carbone, MD, PhD, stands out.

David CarboneThe Johns Hopkins-trained physician led the thoracic oncology program at Vanderbilt University before being recruited to The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) in late 2012 to head a new thoracic oncology program.

Since his arrival, Dr. Carbone has generated considerable excitement for the work he and his team are doing to discover new diagnostics and treatments for lung cancer—piquing the interest of donors like Georgia and John DallePezze, and Kathy and Jay Worly.

The DallePezzes and Worlys, in addition to being longtime friends in their New Albany, Ohio, community, are also ardent supporters of the OSUCCC – James. Sadly, both families have also experienced the devastation of losing a beloved family member to lung cancer. The Worlys lost Jay’s father to the disease, and the DallePezzes recently lost John’s daughter Christina to an aggressive, late-stage lung cancer when she was just 43 years old.

The families were thrilled to learn that the OSUCCC – James had recruited Dr. Carbone and, after hearing more about his vision for Ohio State’s budding thoracic oncology program, they were eager to support his work through two separate gifts targeted toward different stages of lung cancer.

Dr. Carbone says, “These are exciting times in lung cancer oncology, with major advances being made daily in developing new therapies and matching the optimal treatment to the molecular characteristics of each patient and each tumor, and the results are often dramatic. We know there is no routine cancer, so each patients’ treatment is different. Many more ideas are on the horizon, but with the major cutbacks in government funding of lung cancer research, many of these good ideas are not getting to patients quickly enough. Insightful investment by donors like the DallePezze and Worly familes can be catalytic in helping develop these new ideas and make them reality. My team and I are very grateful for their generous support.”

The DallePezzes’ gift will help to facilitate the discovery of treatments to prolong and improve the quality of life for patients with advanced-stage lung cancers. The DallePezze Thoracic Oncology Fund will be disbursed over a two-year period to research teams working on a variety of projects, such as testing antibodies for their effects on lung cancer stem cells; investigating the use of high-dose radiation to improve survival rates; developing a therapy to overcome cancer immunosuppression; studying a common mutation in lung cancer that impacts some patients’ sensitivity to a certain class of drugs; examining the addition of photodynamic therapy to surgery for patients with mesothelioma; and other data-gathering and preliminary experiments that may lead to clinical trials, additional research grants, and/or patentable, venture capital-funded projects. But most importantly, the money will help improve patient care.

The Worlys’ gift will focus on early detection of lung cancer by helping to create a three-year comprehensive research program that will promote and expand a state-of-the-art lung cancer-screening clinic. One to two percent of high-risk patients selected to be screened in the clinic will be found to have lung cancer. A research repository will be created, collecting blood and urine samples from 250 patients screened through the program each year. These samples will help to develop blood tests for lung cancer risk assessment, early detection and diagnosis. The Worlys’ gift will also fund research bronchoscopies in 50 high-risk patients over the next three years that will allow researchers to study the process of lung cancer development and progression.

Gifts to spur advances in research such as these from the DallePezzes and Worlys are enabling scientists to make remarkable discoveries that will translate to life-saving early detection and late-stage lung cancer treatments for patients. They also contribute to the rich culture of philanthropy that helps to draw extraordinary physician-scientists such as Dr. Carbone to Ohio State.

“I cannot express how grateful I am to the DallePezze and Worly families for stepping up to welcome Dr. Carbone by investing in his vision for ending lung cancer,” says Michael A. Caligiuri, MD, director of the OSUCCC and CEO of The James. “Gifts like these are cementing Ohio State’s reputation as a powerhouse for cancer discoveries and will ultimately deal a formidable blow to the disease that impacted both of their families.”

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