How Miles, Research, and Hope May Cure Cancer
PRA Health Sciences
PRA Health Sciences

On Monday, April 16, thousands of runners will lace up and take part in the Boston Marathon, arguably one of the most well-known races in the entire world. Since 1990, some of those runners will be participating as part of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team.

This group, made up of hundreds of runners and volunteers, raise awareness and funds for the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Together, they've raised more than $85 million, giving every dollar of runner-raised funds directly to the program.

DFMC Pasta Party 17 Jan Ross

Our Mike Karlowicz and Guadalupe De Maeyer (both pictured above) are running in this year's marathon as part of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge Team. Read their personal stories to see why it's so important to them.

Jan Ross, the assistant vice president, running programs, for Dana-Faber, explains more:

This will be the culmination of another very exciting season for the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge! More than half the runners on the team are new to the DFMC experience (such as Michael and Guadalupe), and they are bursting with enthusiasm for their first Boston Marathon® wearing the DFMC singlet.

The rest of the roster is made up of veteran team members who bring a wealth of experience and proven fundraising results. The Dana-Farber Running Programs staff works hard for many months to get acquainted with each team member, to understand the personal reasons behind their participation and to help them succeed at their fundraising goals. It is such a pleasure to see them head to the start line in Hopkinton, then cross the finish line and return to the DFMC meeting place to celebrate with teammates, family, friends, and us!

What is the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Care Research?

It was established in 1987 by Dana-Farber Trustees Delores Barr Weaver and her husband, Wayne, in memory of her mother. It supports new lines of research, playing a pivotal role in the development of early-career scientists to find new clues about cancer.

DFMC Start 17 Team Photo

Research, of course, depends on clinical trials. How important is volunteer participation?

Clinical trials enable new treatments like drugs, diagnostic procedures, and other therapies, to be tested to determine if they are safe and effective. Such trials help scientists answer questions about new cancer therapies, including: What diseases should they be used for? What doses of new drugs are most effective? And which patients can benefit the most from them? Nearly all cancer drugs in use today were tested and made available to patients through clinical trials.

What message might you have for those who have participated in trials in the past? And what do you say to those who might be considering participation?

Clinical trials answer important questions about medical care. There are systems in place to keep patients as safe as possible while taking part in a study: protocol review, eligibility, and monitoring. If someone is thinking about taking part in a study, it’s important to find out what options are available and think about them carefully, understanding what the study involves, and asking as many questions as they need. They can search for cancer clinical trials here.

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