Investigating cancer and improving care
Thanks to research, cancer patients have advantages that didn’t exist 20 years ago—or in some cases, even a few months ago. The Wilmot Cancer Institute at URMC is the only cancer center in the region with a research focus, housing more than 100 investigators who study how cancer develops, spreads, and the best ways to stop it.
Wilmot participates in several innovative clinical research studies that measure biomarkers in patients’ tumors, and then allow eligible patients to receive newer drugs that target their tumors’ mutations. Wilmot also is a national leader in testing new therapies for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and several other blood cancers. Due to Wilmot’s clinical studies, some of these targeted treatments (which come in pill form) are now a viable alternative to toxic chemotherapy.
Casey Farnan, a Rochester resident and lung cancer survivor, is surrounded by his care team. He is participating in a clinical trial at Wilmot Cancer Institute.
Our investigators are involved in their own “moonshots” initiative, studying how to repurpose existing, FDA-approved, effective drugs in new ways to combat cancer—which is faster and more efficient than inventing a new drug from the ground floor.
URMC has one of the oldest, most highly regarded and well-funded programs in the country to study cancer-related side effects and survivorship. Our investigators are among the nation’s leaders in looking for ways to ease brain fogginess associated with chemotherapy and in using yoga to treat fatigue.
In 2015 the National Cancer Institute endorsed our unique approach to bench science with a multimillion dollar award for seven years of uninterrupted funding. This work centers on the idea that different cancers share certain characteristics and by understanding the commonalities we might unlock the next generation of treatments. Instead of studying single gene mutations that might trigger a specific cancer, we look at the genetic programs that control all of cancer’s worst features.