Resources for Researchers Fueling Ohio State’s Quest for a Cancer-Free World

Scientific Microscope

David Gosky, MA, MBA, has had a front row seat to several cancer research breakthroughs over the past three decades, which has led to a hopeful outlook for the treatments of tomorrow.

“My optimism for the future comes from knowing there is so much promise,” says Gosky, the new executive director of administration of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center (OSUCCC).

“We are seeing more and more patients surviving longer and leading a better quality of life. Every day, I hear about a new drug in the pipeline that means a mom will see her son graduate high school and a father will be able to walk his daughter down the aisle. That’s what drives me.” Another factor that drives Gosky is that, as the top administrator at the OSUCCC, he and his team help ensure that this progress continues.

“Our job as administrators is to insure that the people doing the real work – the doctors seeing patients, the nurses, the social workers and all other therapists, the researchers working in the labs, our people out in the communities doing prevention, screening and education – all have the resources, facilities and space they need to do what they do so amazingly well,” Gosky says. “They have the brainpower and the passion, but unless we provide them with the resources, it’s hard for them to be successful.”

Resources for research are vital in the ongoing battle against cancer and, over the past few decades, have led to a long series of breakthroughs that have improved the outcome for patients.

Gosky started at the OSUCCC in late 2018 and was immediately impressed by his new colleagues.

“The scientific expertise and breadth and depth of talent here at the Comprehensive Cancer Center and The James is amazing,” he says. “Every day I meet with doctors and scientists who are internationally recognized as leaders in their field.”

The list of advances and breakthroughs is long, but three quickly come to mind for Gosky: immunotherapy, proton therapy and clinical trials.

Immunotherapy

“This is so exciting because there are now some patients being treated with immunotherapy who, in the past, would have died in 12 to 18 months. Now, in a growing number of cases, they are surviving and there is no longer any evidence of cancer in their bodies.”

Listen to The James Cancer-Free World Podcast about immunotherapy with David Carbone, MD

Proton Therapy Facility

Construction is due to start on this joint venture between the OSUCCC – James and Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Proton therapy is an advanced type of radiation treatment that uses protons (positively charged particles) instead of X-rays to kill cancer cells.

“You get all the benefits of traditional radiation therapy, but the targeting will be even more precise and you get little or no side effects to the surrounding tissue, which is a big breakthrough for the quality of life of our patients,” Gosky says.

Clinical Trials

These trials for new drugs and treatment options drive progress forward and have led to the development of many new, life-saving chemotherapy and immunotherapy drugs.

“At The James, almost one-quarter of our patients are on a clinical trial,” Gosky says, adding that the national average at all cancer facilities is about 1 percent. “We currently have about 900 active clinical trials, and we’re adding 10 to 12 new trials every month.”

The number of trials and the expertise of the OSUCCC – James oncology specialists has gained national attention. Over the past 12 months, the OSUCCC – James has treated patients from 49 states and 26 countries.

All of the above motivates Gosky and his administrative team at the OSUCCC, who look forward to continuing their roles in the effort to create a cancer-free world through the support of research.

“I heard someone say something that really struck home with me,” Gosky says. “They said that every drug our patients are getting today started years ago as a single idea and experiment in someone’s lab.”