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Promise and Progress - Director's Letter
The Time is Now: 2010-2011
William Nelson, M.D., Ph.D.
Date: November 11, 2010
From the Bench to the Bedside
William Nelson, M.D., Ph.D. Marion I. Knott Professor and Director, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins
Photo by Peter Howard
Translational research is a term we use to describe research that will rapidly have a clinical application. In cancer medicine, it is deemed so important, that the National Cancer Institute devotes one-third of its budget to translational science.
A translational scientist myself, I cannot think of another time in my career when we’ve had so many opportunities to use science to improve the clinical care of patients.
As director of the Kimmel Cancer Center, I am particularly proud, because we are the indisputable leader in this area known as translational research. We own this piece. The genetic blueprints for cancer originated in our Center. Of the 100 cancers studied, 90 were done at the Kimmel Cancer Center, with basic scientists working side by side with clinical scientists to uncover the cellular causes of breast, brain, colon, pancreas, and other cancers. These are the discoveries that are bringing us new ways to manage—to control—cancer. We are truly on the precipice of something great.
This success has been fueled by the generosity of individuals, like Sidney Kimmel, groups like the Commonwealth Foundation, the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Fund for Cancer Research, the Hodson Trust, the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute, the Avon Foundation, the Maryland Cigarette Restitution Fund, Giant/Stop and Shop, Safeway, and so many other people, corporations, and foundations. High impact philanthropy has led us to high impact science. Taking new ideas to the clinic is a costly proposition, and it is insufficiently funded by public grants. Private donors have made us the leaders in translational research because they have provided the funding that has moved our discoveries to patient care.
This is our decade. As you will read in this issue, we now understand the genetic landscape of cancer and the pathways these gene alterations use and corrupt to advance the disease. We are gathering the technology to begin applying what we’ve learned to each patient’s unique cancer. The convergence of this technology with brilliant scientific minds, and dedicated donors has brought us to a point now where we can begin to alter the course of cancer in ways we could only imagine just a few decades ago. This is the time of translational and personalized cancer medicine—of discoveries that transcend the boundaries of the laboratory bench to make a difference at the bedside.
William G. Nelson, M.D., Ph.D.
Marion I. Knott Professor and Director
The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins
Articles in this Issue
Cover Story: Personalized Medicine is Here, The Time is Now
- Personalized Medicine is Here: The Time is Now
- Cover Story Sidebar: Our Cancer Research is Curing Other Diseases Too
- Cover Story Sidebar: A New Paradigm for Cancer Drug Discovery
- Cover Story Sidebar: Personalized Approaches in Pediatric Cancer
- Cover Story Sidebar: The Frankenstein Project
- Cover Story Sidebar: The Serendipitous Discovery of a Cancer Starter
- Cover Story Sidebar: The Mathematics of Curing Cancer
- Immune Cell Commander
- A Personalized Genetic Profile for Brain Cancer
- A New "Twist" in Breast Cancer
- JHU Engineering Student Invents Melanoma Screening Device
- Special Delivery: Biodegradable Particles Transport Drugs to Diseased Tissues and Organs
- Targeting Brain Cancer Stem Cells
- Vaccine Clears Out Leukemia Cells
- Does Low Cholesterol Equal Lower Risk of High-Grade Prostate Cancer?
- A Common Good - The Commonwealth Foundation
- Helping Us Solve The Cancer Puzzle
- The Skip Viragh Center
- Making Waves to Fight Cancer
- Gift Brings Complementary Care to Cancer Patients
- A Major Gift for Kidney Cancer Research
- Giant Food Supports Childhood Cancer Research
- Wawa Cares About Cancer Patients
- Young Lacrosse Players Faced Off Against Childhood Cancer