Finding a Cure

Explore the Active Clinical Trials Available to Gastrointestinal Cancer Patients at Medstar Georgetown

The original charge in declaring war on cancer by Richard Nixon in 1971 was "an appropriation of an extra $100 million to launch an intensive campaign to find a cure for cancer."

Yet after many billions of dollars and nearly 40 years of research, we have only cured a handful of rare cancers. The most common cancers, including breast, prostate, lung, and the GI cancers, remain deadly and feared diseases with only limited advances in treatment.

Molecular Medicine
Because of our lack of understanding of the molecular biology of cancer and the overwhelming variability in cancers and patients, we abandoned the original charge to cure cancer and adopted a strategy to try simply to extend survival. While we have been able to achieve some improvements in survival, these are modest at best, are unbelievably expensive, and force patients to endure great physical and emotional burdens.

We can not give up the war on cancer. Dramatic improvements in molecular biology have lead to a better understanding of what makes cancers "tick", new anti-cancer agents are being developed at an unprecedented pace, new technologies allow us to measure the many variables quickly and accurately, and improvements in bio-informatics allow us to analyze the resulting data sets. These improvements are the foundation of personalized medicine, the only way forward in the quest to cure cancer.

This is the charge of the Ruesch Center.