Philanthropy

On Cancer: The Society of MSKCC’s Annual Appeal Raises Funds for Thyroid Cancer Research

By Julie Grisham, MS, Science Writer/Editor  |  Friday, September 27, 2013
Pictured: James Fagin James Fagin, Chief of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Endocrinology Service

Since 1948, The Society of MSKCC's Annual Appeal has raised money to support cancer research conducted by Memorial Sloan Kettering clinicians and scientists. This year, the campaign is raising money to fund research related to thyroid cancer.

The Annual Appeal is a hands-on initiative of The Society, a volunteer-led organization within Memorial Sloan Kettering, dedicated to supporting the efforts and mission of the Center. Society members write personal letters to friends, family members, and work colleagues urging them to support Memorial Sloan Kettering’s research. Administrative Board members also make personal contributions to the campaign.

A Growing Need

An estimated 56,000 new cases of thyroid cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year, and the incidence of the disease is increasing, due in large part to greater awareness and better detection methods. Most thyroid cancers are detected at an early stage when they are curable, but a subset of them are more aggressive, and better treatments for patients with those types are greatly needed.

Women are three times more likely than men to be affected by thyroid cancer. The Society, a mostly female organization, saw this as one of their motivations to focus their efforts on thyroid cancer this year.

In addition, last year The Society was able to support a grant submitted by James A. Fagin, Chief of the Endocrinology Service in the Department of Medicine and a Member of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program, and Society members wanted to continue to support Memorial Sloan Kettering’s programs in advancing thyroid cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Supporting Advances in Research

Work from our group is driving major breakthroughs in the treatment of advanced metastatic thyroid cancer, with the development of new therapies based on a detailed understanding of the mechanisms of the disease. The opportunities for real progress in outcomes have never been as tangible as they are now.

—Dr. Fagin, Chief of the Endocrinology Service

Earlier this year, Dr. Fagin led a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reporting the results of a clinical trial that found an experimental targeted therapy drug could reverse radioiodine resistance in some patients with advanced thyroid cancer. Resistance to radioactive iodine, the most effective therapy for the disease, is a hallmark of the most aggressive thyroid cancers.

With The Society’s support, Dr. Fagin and others will be able to continue their research to identify the key therapeutic targets of this disease and to translate that knowledge into mechanism-based therapies for patients.

“Supporting cutting-edge research at Memorial Sloan Kettering is the cornerstone of The Society’s mission,” says Martha Vietor Glass, The Society’s President. “It is our privilege to support the groundbreaking work of Dr. Fagin and his colleagues on the thyroid cancer team.”

A Long-Standing History of Fund-Raising

In recent years, the Annual Appeal has supported a range of programs at Memorial Sloan Kettering, including nursing and quality-of-care initiatives, research conducted by the Brain Tumor Center, the Survivorship Initiative, and projects aimed at the screening, early detection, prevention, and treatment of ovarian cancer.

Learn more about how to make contributions to the Annual Appeal.

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