Our Center

Our Mission

Combining expertise in molecular medicine, translational research, and a patient-centered philosophy, the Ruesch Center will realize the dream of individualized curative therapies through research, care, and advocacy.

Leading a New Battle Against GI Cancer

Gastrointestinal (GI) cancers are the most common and the most fatal of all cancers, yet continue to be dramatically under-funded. This year, more than 300,000 Americans will be diagnosed with a GI cancer and more than 50% will die within five years. With this in mind, in 2009, Jeanne Ruesch founded The Ruesch Center for the Cure of Gastrointestinal Cancers at the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center with a $6.75 million seed grant in honor of her late husband Otto. Today, the Ruesch Center is a global pioneer, unmatched by any other GI cancer program. Relentlessly fighting a smarter war against GI cancer by partnering with patients based on their unique needs, the Ruesch Center is carrying out cutting-edge, innovative research, and providing the highest standard of care and individualized cures.

What Makes the Ruesch Center Unique

No two tumors are exactly alike, so treating all GI cancer patients with standard chemotherapy regimens is ineffective for the vast majority of people and thus financially unsustainable.  At the Ruesch Center, we believe the future of GI cancer treatment hinges on a highly personalized approach to finding the right drugs for the right patients.  As an international center of excellence, part of one of only 40 comprehensive cancer centers in the country and one of only a few that focuses exclusively on GI cancers, we are working tirelessly by: 

  • Advancing Science and Research: In the last four years, the Ruesch Center has supported more than 50 clinical trials, with 119 (18%) of our current patients enrolled on a trial. More than 2,000 tissue and blood samples, in combination with clinical data, of GI patients have been stored and are available for use in future cancer research.
  • Changing Lives and Outcomes: Our nurse navigators, who offer critical medical guidance, support, and direction for patients and their families through the cancer treatment process, have touched the lives of more than 2,800 patients.
  • Cultivating Innovators of the Future: Our student summer program has grown from two students in the early years to 14 in the coming summer and engages participants in research and patient care.
  • Collaborating and Sharing Insights: The center has established scientific collaborations with over 81 cities and 20 international partners, including the creation of a Global Alliance, resulting in research papers that have influenced treatment across the globe.