Fall 2019 Breakthroughs Message from the Director
Shaping the Future of Cancer Care
I HAVE EXCITING NEWS TO SHARE FROM DUKE CANCER INSTITUTE (DCI). After many months of preparation and an extensive review process, DCI was renewed as a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center for another five-year period.
This award means that we retain the elite designation of a “comprehensive” cancer center, an honor held by only 51 institutions in the United States. The accompanying five-year grant of approximately $30 million supports our broad range of clinical, research, and educational programs, which aim to reduce the impact of cancer on the lives of people in North Carolina and beyond.
As one of the original eight comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), our cancer center has been continuously funded by NCI since 1973. So, while this grant renewal is not a new infusion of funding, it does mean that NCI recognizes DCI’s continuing leadership in shaping cancer research and care.
I am also happy to share with you some of our recent investments in one of our priority focus areas—cancer immunotherapies (treatments that boost the immune system’s own ability to fight cancer).
In addition to running industry-sponsored clinical trials of these treatments, DCI has untapped potential to develop and test truly novel immunotherapies based on discoveries made right here at Duke.
To build on that opportunity, we have launched the new DCI Center for Cancer Immunotherapy. Leaders of this center (see “Accelerating Immunotherapy,” page 10) are partnering with the outstanding talent across Duke to accomplish the many steps required to move new immunotherapy discoveries from the research lab into a human clinical study.
Friends and donors like you are vital partners in this work. Without you, many promising therapies would never get beyond a culture dish or a mouse study. Donations can provide support to gather early data to prove that a new discovery is worth investment from a large funding agency.
With your help, we will build upon our strengths and advance new priorities like immunotherapy to achieve our mission of delivering tomorrow’s cancer care…today.
Will you please join us?
Michael B. Kastan, MD, PhD
Executive Director, Duke Cancer Institute
William and Jane Shingleton Professor,
Pharmacology and Cancer Biology
Professor of Pediatrics
This message appeared in the Fall 2019 issue of Breakthroughs, a magazine produced twice yearly by Duke Cancer Institute Office of Development. Subscribe to Breakthroughs.
In This Issue
ACCELERATING IMMUNOTHERAPY By Angela Spivey
Taking a new finding from the lab to the clinic can be a long slog up a steep hill. The new DCI Center for Cancer Immunotherapy helps researchers with the climb. Read
CIRCLE PHOTO (TOP): Metastatic melanoma survivor Stephen Totty with sons Harrison and Craig and wife, Heather. Totty currently shows no evidence of cancer thanks to treatment with immunotherapy. (Photo by Alex Boerner).