The Cancer Research Collaboration (CRC) was created with a single goal — to help patients beat cancer. We have worked tirelessly to bring state-of-the-art clinical trials to patients and to provide investigators with the tools to research the cause of cancer and to find a cure. One of our biggest initiatives is the development and funding of a biobank. This will house tumor specimens and blood samples taken from cancer patients, along with copies for their clinical history. These specimens provide genetic information that will help researchers develop new medicines, vaccines, and tests that will improve cancer diagnoses and patient outcomes.
As researchers have discovered more ways to identify cancer genes and their functions, they have been able to synthesize more data from biospecimens, patient records, and clinical trials, allowing them to identify new cancer subtypes and develop new strategies for diagnosing and treating cancer.
Their work has dramatically improved our understanding of the role genes play and their abilities to impact disease, helping them:
- Find new ways to deliver drugs and agents to specific cells.
- Learn how different cancers and cancer subtypes progress and spread.
- Determine which patients are likely to respond to specific therapies and treatments.
- Develop vaccines and immunological agents that target specific cancers and prevent cancers from spreading if they reoccur.
Partnerships are vital to the progress we have made. Curing cancer will take more than one person or one organization. It will require many people, organizations, doctors, and patients, all working together. By partnering with investigators like Dr. John Link and his team of breast cancer specialists at Breastlink Medical Group, the Cancer Research Collaboration hopes to continue making strides on behalf of men and women everywhere who are fighting this disease.
As a medical oncologist, I have been studying breast cancer since 1975. For over 40 years, I have watched the cure rate climb from 55 percent to 80 percent, progress made possible by the clinical trial process, which tests new treatments against the current standard of care. Slow and laborious, clinical trials are why current breast cancer treatment is less deforming and less toxic than it was in the past. It's taken us from radical mastectomy to lumpectomy and allowed us to eradicate escaped microscopic spread using less lymph node surgery and medication. Now, with our increased understanding of the genomic basis of cancer, progress is occurring even faster.
Breastlink and the Cancer Research Collaboration are working hard to accelerate this progress. Breastlink has a robust research program — 12 active protocols testing new, targeted medicines, procedures, and genomics — and the Cancer Research Collaboration is one of our most valuable, strategic partners. Their biobank initiative, which will store and preserve tissue and blood samples from cancer patients, will be an extremely important tool for our researchers. It will allow us to compare treated cancer cells with original cancer cells, using genomic analysis and we are very excited to be participating in this endeavor. Research is an important part of what we do.
It allows us to offer our patients state-of-the-art treatment and make advances that will allow us to help more women in the future.