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Five Ways Pelotonia Dollars Are Making an Impact

Five Ways Pelotonia Dollars Are Making an Impact

The research at the Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center and James Cancer Hospital that is saving lives “all starts with the money you raise,” said Dr. Caligiuri, Director of the CCC and CEO of the James at a recent community event. “You provide the funds that allows a researcher in a lab to discover a molecule in a cancer cell and have that aha moment.”

Inspired by Dr. Caligiuri, we wanted to highlight some of the great work that we – the Pelotonia community – are funding. And remember, 100 percent, every single dollar, that you raise and/or donate goes to fund cancer research at the CCC and James.

Print1. The miracle pill: Clinical trials funded by Pelotonia led to the FDA approval of Ibrutinib, a miracle pill that is saving the lives of people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.  Ibrutinib doesn’t cure CLL, but “allows people to live with it,” said John Byrd. “It converts it to a chronic illness, like high blood pressure, that you take a pill for every day.” Learn more about Ibrutinib here. 

2The initiative: Pelotonia funded the Ohio Colorectal Cancer Prevention Initiative (OCCPI), a statewide program that’s tested 2,000-plus colon cancer patients – and many of their family members – to determine if they have Lynch Syndrome, a genetic mutation that results in cancer. “If you find people with Lynch Syndrome before they develop cancer, you can take the proper precautions and save lives,” said Heather Hampel, leader of OCCPI. Learn more about this initiative here. 

3. The inhibitor: A Pelotonia Idea Grant fueled the research of Sameek Roychowdury, whose team identified Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor (FGFR) as a genetic mutation that leads to the growth of cancer cells – and are in the midst of clinical trials for an FGFR inhibitor. This research “could change the way we think about and treat cancer,” Sameek said. “Instead of looking at it as lung cancer of breast cancer, we could classify a cancer by its genetic mutation.” Learn more about this genetic mutation here.

4. The cancer killer: Dr. Don Benson and his team are in the midst of clinical trials of CT-011, a protein that seems to help the body detect and target cancer cells. This is a form of immunotherapy and “it would still be a bottle sitting on a shelf without the Pelotonia funds,” Benson said. Learn more about this form of immunotherapy here. 

5. The protein: Dr. Maryam Lustberg and her team are investigating how PTEN – a natural, tumor-suppressing protein found in the body – impacts women with breast cancer. Her research was funded by a Pelotonia Idea Grant. Without Pelotonia, “there wouldn’t have been funding,” Maryam said. Learn more about Dr. Lustberg’s research here. 

To learn more about what Pelotonia dollars are doing at the James, visit Pelotonia’s impact page for even more stories.

BTW: Mike, John, Heather, Sameek and Don are all Pelotonia Riders, and Maryam is a Virtual Rider.

Steve Wartenberg ThumnailSteve Wartenberg is a journalist, cyclist and longtime Pelotonia Rider. Steve is one of just a handful who have pedalled every mile of every Pelotonia.  This year he is going above and beyond his fundraising efforts as a High Roller!


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  1. Pete Satre - May 22, 2016

    Steve, thank you for writing this column, I have incorporated this information into some of my fund raising requests. Thanks again and see you on the road!

  2. julie hall - August 19, 2016

    Thanks for writing this column and all the fund raising! How can I donate?

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