It is with great excitement to announce that the American Cancer Society – the largest non-government, not-for-profit funding source of cancer research in the United States – has approved funding for two research grants at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center. Funding for these research projects was made possible due to the Coaches vs. Cancer Bo Ryan – Jay Holliday Families Fund. The Ryan - Holliday Fund was established in 2018 with a $500,000 gift from retired University of Wisconsin-Madison men’s basketball coach Bo Ryan and his wife Kelly to the American Cancer Society. It was created to support cancer research at the Carbone Cancer Center and is in memory of the Ryan’s long-time friend who passed away from cancer in January. Additional contributions to support the Ryan - Holliday Fund were also raised at several American Cancer Society events that took place this spring and summer.
The two scientists and their research projects are:
· Randall J. Kimple, MD, PhD, Therapy Induced Autophagy in Head and Neck Cancer Patients: Head and neck cancer is typically associated with advanced stage diagnosis, high recurrence rates, and poor long-term outcomes – survival rates for this cancer have not improved over the past decade. Dr. Kimple’s research will use tissue samples to study the resistance of head and neck cancer cells to a specific chemotherapy drug, as well as analyze whether treatment for head and neck cancers with that drug should include another drug(s) to help block the cancer’s resistance to this type of chemotherapy.
· Pamela K. Kreeger, PhD, Inhibition of Metastasis in Ovarian Cancer: Ovarian cancer is often diagnosed at a late stage and after the disease has spread (metastasized) to other abdominal organs or tissue. Dr. Kreeger’s research will study the efficacy of an FDA-approved drug in slowing or stopping metastases by blocking the production and function of a protein known to enable ovarian cancer cells easily attaching to other parts of the abdomen. These results will then allow Dr. Kreeger to identify any biomarkers that could help further identify those patients who would benefit most from this approach.
Both research grants took effect on January 1, 2019. Currently, the American Cancer Society is investing $8.6 million in cancer research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“It’s a credit to the innovative ideas of Dr. Kimple and Dr. Kreeger that their research projects were chosen as the first to receive support from the Coaches vs. Cancer Bo Ryan – Jay Holliday Families Fund. Our thanks to Bo and Kelly Ryan, the other fund contributors, and the American Cancer Society for making these awards possible,” said Howard Bailey, MD, director of the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center and professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. “This type of patient-focused research holds the potential to accelerate our progress by translating laboratory discoveries into real-world cancer treatments and patient care that could impact survival rates and improve quality of life.”
In recognition of their years of dedicated service to the American Cancer Society, Bo and Kelly Ryan also recently received the organization’s prestigious St. George National Award. This award is presented annually to outstanding volunteers, nationwide, who have made significant contributions to the community in support of the Society’s mission to save lives from cancer.
In addition to launching the Coaches vs. Cancer Bo Ryan – Jay Holliday Families Fund, Bo and Kelly Ryan were significantly involved in building the Coaches vs. Cancer program in Wisconsin during his tenure as head coach of the men’s basketball team at UW-Madison. Through the Shooting Down Cancer event and the Coaches vs. Cancer Wisconsin Gala, they have helped to raise more than $7.1 million for the American Cancer Society since 2008.
“We’re grateful to have Coach and Kelly Ryan on our team, helping us defeat a different kind of opponent – cancer,” said Cory Recknor, chair of the American Cancer Society’s Coaches vs. Cancer Wisconsin Gala. “A competitive spirit and fierce determination to save more lives from cancer is what drives the Ryan’s continued support of our mission. For that, and so much more, we’re honored to recognize their contributions to the American Cancer Society and the fight against cancer with this year’s St. George Award.”
For more information about the fund, please visit coachesvscancerwisconsin.org or contact Amy Rohrer.
For more than 100 years, The American Cancer Society has been leading the fight to end cancer. With your support, we have helped usher in an era where more people survive cancer than ever before. By translating our research findings into action, we've seen a 20% decline in US cancer death rates since the early 1990s.
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