Cancer - A Worldwide Problem
Cancer touches us all. Worldwide, it is estimated that there will be 15 million new cases of cancer every year by 2020. In 2007 there
were 20,000 deaths per day from cancer. The lifetime probability for developing cancer is 50% for men and 33% for women. People are
living longer, our population is growing, and the number of Americans diagnosed with cancer is projected to increase yearly as the
baby boomers age. It is the leading cause of death in the United States for people under the age of 85. Cancer strikes all
socioeconomic groups, all ethnic groups, and those who live in both urban and rural areas. According to the American Cancer
Society, about 1.42 million new cancer cases were diagnosed in the US in 2007. At this moment, millions of people are living
with cancer, coping with difficult treatments, and waiting for a cure; they are our family members, neighbors, friends - or even
ourselves. To researchers at the Robert W. Franz Cancer Research Center, they are the people served every day. They are the direct
beneficiaries of our research.
Treating Cancer with the Body's Immune System
Today, after only 15 years, the hospital-based research facility, known as the Robert W. Franz Cancer Research Center in
the Earle A. Chiles Research Institute is a "rare, small jewel" and has become an international leader in the field of immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy, using the body's own defense system to fight cancer, has great potential to treat and ultimately to conquer this
disease. The Center's powerful combination of internationally recognized research and clinical scientists, advanced technology,
and access to a large number of cancer patients, provides a unique "bench to bedside" setting in a community medical center.
Research is being conducted to understand and utilize the immune system to treat, and, and one day to prevent cancer.
Finding a Cure for Colon Cancer
One area that can help to further our understanding on colon cancer is to develop a mouse model for colon cancer.
New studies suggest that normal colon crypt stem cells may be the cells-of-origin for colon cancer. This is a new
theory and may be central understanding colon cancer at a cellular level.
In order to study this theory about colon cancer in humans, we must first start with a mouse model. Presently, there are
no mice that have been genetically manipulated to specifically and rapidly induce colon cancer from stem cells. It will be
very helpful for researchers to have a mouse model where it is possible to generate transplantable mouse colon tumor cells from
crypt stem cells. This mouse model will more closely resemble colon cancer in humans and allow scientists to test experimental
treatments that may be more effective and ultimately, cure colon cancer.
This will be the first mouse model that would be targeted for colon cancer research and of great value to the many scientists
in the world that are studying immunotherapy and colon cancer.