OCRF asked me to participate in their Partners in Science program, as a thank you for my campaign and efforts over the last five years. That means I got to view several research projects and decide to whom the $107,000 I raised should go. Now I don't profess to know a thing about science (some may recall my mathematics background) but they were fantastic to read. I understood more than I thought; luckily OCRF put it into a nice summary for me. It was unclear how I would chose. After all, what was my criteria? It was completely up to me. Seven projects were offered and I hoped that one would "speak" to me. I read them and reread them and then read them again. I waited a few days and read them again, this time omitting a few. Finally there were three candidates left and I read each project summary two more times.
Finally I chose Dr. Matthias Stephan's project. He is based out of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. As I hoped, his work "spoke" to me. My mother read his summary as well and liked his face and also his name. My step-father's name is Matthias. But that's not really why I chose him. It was his work... and two lines of his project summary in particular.
- We propose to create an injectable reagent that can quickly reprogram the patient’s immune cells (particularly T lymphocytes) to recognize and destroy ovarian tumors.
- In contrast to standard chemoradiation therapies, nanoparticle-mediated targeting can direct T cells to selectively destroy only ovarian cancer cells, without damaging healthy tissue or producing toxic side effects.
This just made sense to me and gives me a lot of hope. Remembering my own treatment and how awful the side effects were, the thought of target therapy with minimal to no side effects makes me almost giddy. A big WOOT! to Dr. Stephan for coming up with the idea and another round of WOOT! to the Scientific Advisory Board of OCRF for recognizing and choosing him. I am thrilled to be a small part of it.