Clinical Trials and the Importance of Donor Funding

Clinical Trials and the Importance of Donor Funding

How important are clinical trials at Roswell Park? KayEllen will tell you that she is alive because of them.

After her diagnosis of stage 3 ovarian cancer and the treatment that followed, she learned about clinical trials being run here on a vaccine to prevent recurrence of her type of cancer.

So in 2010 she traveled from Ohio to Buffalo to meet Dr. Kunle Odunsi, who was conducting the trial, and see if she would qualify. Dr. Odunsi is Roswell Park’s Deputy Director, the Chair of Gynecologic Oncology and the Executive Director of the Center of Immunotherapy. KayEllen has participated in three trials run by him since that trip — and has remained cancer free the whole time.

“I believe that having access to clinical trials at a facility like Roswell Park has enabled me to continue to have a lengthy remission,” she says. “And, additionally, taking part in new treatments has enabled me to return to my ‘normal’ life — teaching, spending time with family and friends — feeling reborn.”

These clinical trials wouldn’t even be possible without donor support.

Bringing Tomorrow’s Treatments to Our Patients Today

We always strive to provide our patients with the best state-of-the-art treatment. Clinical trials enable us to go one step further and bring tomorrow’s treatments to our patients today. At any given time, there are more than 200 clinical trials underway at Roswell Park – and donations play a critical role in bringing some of these promising treatments to patients.

“We have patients and survivors who are alive today because they got a drug that was still in the research phase and which they couldn’t get anywhere else,” says Marc Ernstoff, MD, Senior Vice President for Clinical Investigation.

A clinical trial is a study designed to evaluate a promising new medical treatment. It might assess a new way to prevent, diagnose or treat cancer, or a new way to repurpose an existing treatment. All of the standard treatments our patients receive today are the results of clinical trials done in the past.

But it takes a lot to conduct all the stages of the process and bring a treatment to market: several years, hundreds of qualifying patients — and millions of dollars. At Roswell Park, trials like KayEllen’s receive significant funding from donations. Giving supports the research teams, equipment, facilities and other factors required to run a trial from start to finish.

Because of donor support, we are able to offer new hope to those battling cancer. We bring them the newest treatments faster. We run more clinical trials. And because of Roswell Park and our generous donors, we can offer the latest potentially lifesaving treatments right here in Buffalo.

A New Lease on Life

KayEllen has been married to her college sweetheart for more than 41 years now. They have two children and one grandchild. She walks 3-6 miles a day, teachers, gardens, sews, travels with her husband and “rejoices in having ‘Nana time’” with her grandson.

“I am thankful every moment of every day that I was able to take part in the clinical trials at Roswell Park,” she says. “Words truly cannot express how appreciative I am of such trials and new treatments and of the researchers and doctors who make them available to patients like myself.”

And she’s deeply grateful to everyone who gives to support clinical trials at Roswell Park: “Their gifts are going to change — and maybe save — someone’s life.”

Funds raised through Herd of Hope could be the catalyst that leads to the next cancer breakthrough at Roswell Park. Show your company’s support by making your sponsorship commitment today.

© 2018 Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center