|How your PMC funds fuel the fight against cancer
Since 1980, the PMC has raised $338 million for cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber. The majority of this impressive total is considered unrestricted support-critical, flexible funding that can be directed where and when it is needed most. As the PMC generates nearly half of the Jimmy Fund's annual revenue, every rider supports the efforts of more than 3,000 DFCI faculty and staff members as they make countless advances that have become the standard of cancer care and research.
The following provides tangible examples of how unrestricted money is propelling Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund's lifesaving mission:
• Increasing survival rates of pediatric cancers
Overall cure rates for pediatric cancers continue to rise. Survival rates of acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), the most common type of leukemia in children, have improved steadily in the past 40 years-in the 1970s, five-year survival for children younger than 20 was 61 percent, and today has climbed to 83 percent. Furthermore, since 1988 two out of every three children who enter the Jimmy Fund Clinic are cured.
• Declining rates in cancer deaths
Despite the fact that the cancer mortality rate in the U.S. has risen steadily for the past 50 years, scientific advances appear to have begun to turn the tide. 1997 was the first year in the past half century in which fewer Americans died of cancer than the year before-the start of what researchers hope will be a long-term decline in cancer deaths.
• Increasing survival rates of breast cancers
Survival rates of breast cancer have steadily increased over the past six decades-in the 1950s, five-year relative survival for localized breast cancer (cancer that has not extended to the lymph nodes or other areas) was 80 percent, and today has reached 98 percent.
• Decreasing incidence rates colorectal cancer
The incidence rates of colorectal cancer have declined for the majority of the last two decades. In 1985 there were approximately 66 cases per 100,000 individuals and in 2004 there were approximately 48. The decrease has been the most drastic from 1998 to 2004, in part because more people are being screened for the disease, which can help detect colorectal polyps that can be removed before they evolve into cancer.
• Declining incidence rates of lung and bronchus cancers
Incidence rates of lung and bronchus cancers in men have decreased considerably, from as many as 102 cases per 100,000 individuals in 1984 to almost 74 cases in 2004. Furthermore, the incidence rate for women is advancing toward a plateau after increasing for many years.
• Funding promising early-stage research
In 2008, Dana-Farber was the second highest recipient of grant funding from the National Cancer Institute. Dana-Farber's generous donors enable the Institute to make a stronger case for major research grants by being able to demonstrate first, through innovative pilot studies, that its work holds great promise and is worthy of further support. All donor gifts-including those from the PMC-make a huge impact at Dana-Farber because, by funding early-stage efforts, staff and faculty can leverage donor contributions into more dollars from the government to advance research even further. In addition, the competition for private grants is on the rise, and many researchers with promising discoveries are left with few options. Unrestricted dollars help fill the gap so that investigators who are between grants can continue their work rather than having to dismantle their laboratories.
• Purchasing powerful new equipment that drives scientific results
Dana-Farber has utilized unrestricted funds to purchase new technologies and sophisticated equipment that collects and analyzes data from large numbers of genes and proteins more rapidly and accurately.
• Recruiting world-class junior faculty
Thanks in part to unrestricted support, Dana-Farber's adult and pediatric fellowship programs are among the most sought-after and selective in the nation. Each year, hundreds of highly qualified physicians compete for fellowships and the opportunity to train with leaders in the fields of oncology and hematology.
• Funding investigator-led clinical trials
Investigators, such as Ian Krop, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber's Breast Oncology Center, rely on unrestricted funds to convert research discoveries into clinical trials and bring effective new drugs to our patients as quickly as possible. Krop is working to understand better the mechanics of HER2-positive breast cancer cell so that he can develop new therapies that overcome resistance to current drugs.
• Providing financial assistance to patients and their families in need
Dana-Farber's Office of Patient and Family Assistance provides direct financial support to more than 1,200 patients annually to help them meet expenses like rent and mortgage payments, utility bills, groceries, and transportation, including gasoline. Social workers and psychologists collaborate with resource specialists to help address financial concerns, and free financial coaching services are also offered.
• Launching nine new integrative centers
Dana-Farber recently created nine collaborative centers to facilitate the rapid exchange of ideas between scientists working in the lab and physicians who see patients. Each center addresses a critical step along the cancer research continuum from basic discovery to drug development and clinical applications in patients, with the common goal of developing more targeted, individualized therapies.
The following centers were created:
* Center for Cancer Genome Discovery
* Center for Cancer Systems Biology
* Center for Applied Cancer Science
* Cancer Vaccine Center
* Center for Clinical and Translational Research
* Center for Developmental Therapeutics
* Center for Molecular Oncologic Pathology
* McGraw/Patterson Center for Population Sciences
* Perini Family Survivors' Center