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As a result of a hugely successful 5th year of fundraising, in December 2017 The Woiner Foundation was able to award a total of $100,000 to directly support the fight against melanoma and pancreatic cancer. The foundation has awarded a total of $310,000 since it began its work in 2013.
The foundation awarded $50,000 to the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center’s Melanoma and Skin Cancer program, led since 1986 by Dr. John M. Kirkwood. The program has made significant advances in treatment of advanced melanoma, and operable high-risk melanoma over the past 5 years, accelerated by The Woiner Foundation’s growing support of new research. Where only 6 years ago there were no medical treatments that improved survival of inoperable advanced melanoma, we now have 10 and two more in the pipeline likely to reach FDA approval in the coming months. Combinations of new immunotherapy have improved survival rates, and the cure of operable disease. The consistent and growing Woiner Foundation support has allowed Dr. Kirkwood the opportunity to improve the cure of melanoma in all stages.
The foundation also awarded $50,000 to the Alliance of Families Fighting Pancreatic Cancer to support the work of Dr. A. James Moser at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Dr. Moser and his Pancreatic Cancer Research Program team are bringing “precision medicine” into clinical reality using minimally-invasive technologies. The BIDMC team is now able to grow 3-D tumors (“organoids”) from pancreatic biopsies performed with a tiny needle during diagnostic procedures, including robotic surgical procedures for pancreatic cancer. This “organoid” approach is being used successfully to screen chemotherapy agents in the laboratory and to identify novel agents for pancreatic cancer, such as Palbociclib. These important developments will permit Dr. Moser’s team to launch an observational clinical trial of the organoid approach to cancer treatment in 2018 in parallel with a personalized fusion vaccine for pancreatic cancer.
The Woiner Foundation raised the money through its fifth annual 3-2-1 Ride event, which was attended by more than 550 area cyclists and volunteers on Oct. 1, 2017 on Pittsburgh’s North Shore, and its third annual Tim & Rita Woiner Memorial Golf Outing, held in June 2017 at Rolling Fields Golf Club in Murrysville.