Give 18 FORE Cancer Research

Give 18 FORE Cancer Research was formed by Mark Thomas as a grassroots vehicle to help raise funds and awareness for cancer research. After losing his aunt (Mary Bolte) to a long battle with ovarian cancer in the fall of 2006, her courage gave Mark the inspiration to try and make a difference.

Together with a group of friends and business associates, Mark organizes and hosts an event to benefit cancer research at the OSUCCC – James. The Charity Pro-Am provides an opportunity for golfers of all skill levels — business leaders, philanthropists, friends and celebrities — to team up with a PGA professional for a great cause for a fun-filled, memorable event at a fantastic golf venue. Together we can make a difference and help put an end, once and for all, to this terrible disease.

The goal and only mission of Give 18 FORE Cancer Research is to raise as much money as possible to support critical cancer research projects by some of the country’s leading doctors and scientists. By supporting cancer research you can ensure that innovation, greater understanding of the disease, discoveries and more effective cancer immunotherapies will continue.

Since 2007, Give 18 FORE Cancer Research has raised $1.3 million and funded cancer research projects targeting melanoma; breast, ovarian, colorectal, lung and soft tissue cancers; and genomic sequencing of DNA and RNA.

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Supported Projects

Genomic Sequencing of DNA and RNA (2012) — Sameek Roychowdhury, MD, PhD

Dr. Roychowdhury is a physician scientist in medical oncology whose research asks, “What is the right drug for my patient?” and “Why do previously effective drugs stop working?” Understanding how novel molecularly targeted drugs work or fail helps determine rational drug combination. The strategy is to simultaneously target separate weak points in cancer so that the disease cannot escape one drug. Similarly, the majority of drugs in development for cancer are so-called smart drugs that target specific genetic mutations in cancer. Thus for patients who fail standard therapies, we will match their cancer with smart drugs in clinical trials. The lab runs a clinical study entitled Personalized Oncology Through High-Throughput Sequencing, which evaluates individual patients with advanced cancer who are considering clinical trials and seeks to identify “driving” mutations that match novel molecularly targeted therapies in development. To do this, they use cutting-edge genome sequencing technologies, also known as next-generation sequencing or massively parallel sequencing. This enables them to look deeply into the molecular or genetic alterations that occur in an individual’s cancer. Thereafter, based on mutations found in patients' cancer they will match patients to clinical trials with corresponding smart drugs. Through support from FORE Cancer Research, we will develop the genomic diagnostic tools for testing patients with advanced cancer. This process entails:

  1. Genomic sequencing of DNA and RNA
  2. Bioinformatics (computer) analysis of the genes
  3. Experimental determination of genes involved in drug resistance
  4. Co-development of clinical trials for molecularly targeted therapies (smart drugs) including inhibitors of BRAF, PI3kinase, fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) and cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK)

Preclinical and Clinical Studies of Combination HER-2 /neu (2009/2010) — Pravin T. P. Kaumaya, PhD

The American Cancer Society estimates that 21,550 new cases of ovarian cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2009, with 14,600 deaths predicted. Of 192,370 newly diagnosed breast cancer patients, some 40,170 people will die from the disease. Ovarian cancer is the second most common gynecologic cancer, with an incidence of about 15 cases per 100,000 women in western countries, and approximately 250,000 new cases and 125,000 deaths worldwide annually.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) strategic plan to defeat cancer by 2015 is in tune with the OSUCCC – James goals: to improve people’s lives through innovation in research, education and patient care. Thus, the goals of developing “effective treatments to treat malignancy by either destroying all cancer cells or modulating and controlling metastases both with minimal harm to healthy tissue” mean integrating preclinical and clinical research and translating research into high-quality patient care for residents of central Ohio and beyond. That means developing novel prophylactic as well as therapeutic vaccines and treatments. Stimulating the immune system to destroy tumor cells has long been a hope, and the realization of this dream is beginning to show signs of success.

Discovery of a K-Ras Inhibitor for the Treatment of Lung Cancer in Women (2008) — Roger Briesewitz, PhD, Dehua Pei, PhD

Lung cancer is the second most common malignancy in women after breast cancer. Although breast cancer is more prevalent, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality in women, accounting for 26% of all cancer deaths. Over the last 30 years, the incidence of lung cancer in women has increased fourfold. This dramatic increase has been labeled a contemporary epidemic. Much of the dramatic increase in lung cancer observed in women appears to be based on the fact that women began to smoke cigarettes in increasing numbers starting in the 1940s and peaking in the 1970s. Despite the adverse risk effect of smoking, lung cancer may also develop in men and women who have never smoked. Compared to men, women in fact appear to be at a higher risk of developing lung cancer, suggesting sex-specific differences that promote the development of the disease.

Our current therapeutic options for the treatment of lung cancer are very limited. Seventy-two percent of all women diagnosed with lung cancer will eventually succumb to the disease despite treatment. Novel therapeutic approaches are desperately needed to improve the odds of survival. In recent years we have gained important insights into the underlying genetic aberrations that cause lung cancer. Based on these insights, we may be able to develop targeted therapeutics that are directed against the cancer cells and that, ideally, have only limited detrimental effects on healthy cells.