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American Cancer Society Receives $100,000 for Cancer Research
Health Opportunity through Partnership in Education (HOPE), a nonprofit organization supporting scientific research and dissemination of cancer information, has announced a gift of $100,000 to the American Cancer Society (ACS) to support cancer research.
HOPE, along with its partner Washington National Insurance Company, worked with ACS as part of their 2012 matching gift program. HOPE promised to match donations up to $100,000 in gifts received.
"The HOPE contribution will enable the American Cancer Society to continue to fund lifesaving cancer research programs," said Roshini George, national vice president of health promotions for ACS. "The donation goes a long way toward helping the society continue its fight for every birthday threatened by cancer."
Founded in 1913, ACS has invested more money in cancer research than any other nongovernmental, nonprofit organization in the U.S. To date, ACS has funded 46 Nobel Laureates, including two of the three scientists that received the 2011 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology.
According to National Center for Charitable Statistics, ACS is by far the largest cancer-focused public charity in the U.S. The organization has total assets of more than $1.5 billion, amounting to more than half the total assets of all U.S. cancer-focused public charities.
A recent analysis by ACS showed that more than half of women diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 turned to the organization for free information and services. ACS is currently funding over 240 breast cancer grants totaling $88 million.
HOPE has donated $250,000 to ACS to date. Last year, HOPE's donation to ACS provided $50,000 to support the work of Dr. Michael Verneris, MD, an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and member of the pediatric bone marrow transplant group at the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Verneris is researching Natural Killer (NK) cells, immune cells that arise from bone marrow transplantation and are known to be effective in killing tumor cells, particularly tumors that originate in the blood, such as leukemia.
The grant from ACS has helped Dr. Verneris study the development of two different populations of NK cells in order to identify the subtype most effective at fighting leukemia. The research also seeks to understand how to best stimulate NK growth and anti-tumor activity to benefit patients.
"We're going to create these molecules to not only kill the cancer but then also to train the immune system to recognize that cancer and eradicate it," Dr. Verneris told the Twin Cities' KSTP.com.
His research has also discovered that other NK cells, called NK22 cells, might be used to ameliorate the side effects of chemotherapy in bone marrow transplantation patients by decreasing damage to the lymph nodes and intestines.
Dr. Verneris hopes to take his laboratory research to a clinic with real patients within three years.
"We're proud to join the fight against cancer and are pleased to make this donation on behalf of HOPE," said HOPE's president, Barbara Stewart. "Once again, the generous contributions made by Washington National certificate holders and HOPE will further support the American Cancer Society's efforts to fund life saving research and programs to help people stay well, get well, and find cures for cancer."
Image credit: Research Development and Engineering Command