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A Letter from Dr. Ohlfest
There are three words that can change your life in a flash, ” you have cancer”. Millions of people hear those words each year throughout the world. Cancers of the brain are one of the most difficult to treat and their incidence is increasing, especially in older adults. Moreover, brain tumors are now the leading cause of solid tumor death in children, surpassing leukemia. History as taught us a valuable lesson: that through research cures are possible, even for diseases thought to be incurable. Prominent examples include the discovery of antibiotics to treat bacterial infection, and bone marrow transplantation to cure some types of leukemia.
Scientific knowledge and technology offers well-founded hope that even the most malignant cancers could soon be cured. Our research program is devoted to this end. We are developing experimental immunotherapy, treatments that train the immune system to attack tumors, which has shown great success in early studies. You can learn more at this website. I encourage you to dig into this site, and see firsthand the clinical trials we have conducted, and plan to conduct in the future.
I want to make a few things clear. 1) Most cancer research (including ours) could be accelerated by grass-roots efforts to raise awareness and financial support. 2) Pilot studies and preliminary experiments can be conducted cost-effectively. There is no such thing as a donation that is too small. Supplies cost money, ranging from ten dollars (for consumable supplies) to a million dollars for high-end equipment. Every dollar is put to hard work. 3) The time is now. The technology developed in the last 10 years is remarkable. We are now able to determine the genetic code of a tumor in a few days for few thousand dollars. That is a huge advance. We also have a greater understanding of how the immune system works, and have new drugs to activate the immune system. Progress is being made at an unprecedented rate. 4) We need your partnership. Divided we are weak, but as a community united against cancer we can become an unstoppable force.
We in the Ohlfest brain tumor research program are grateful to all our supporters. But more importantly, if we stay the course patients (sons, mothers, fathers, friends) may reap the benefits of our partnership.
John Ohlfest, Ph.D.
McKnight Land-Grant Professor and Director of the Brain Tumor Program
Hedberg Family/CCRF Chair in Brain Tumor Research
Departments of Pediatrics and Neurosurgery
University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center
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