$2,145 Raised
"I was largely raised by my grandmother in a small village in Germany. She was the warm-hearted center of the family who fostered my appreciation for science, arts and music. When I was 17, she developed esophageal cancer. I saw her dwindle away in front of our eyes, in pain and unable to swallow."

Michael Korn

M.D.
University of California, San Francisco
Scientific research is not only my passion, it is my quest to reduce suffering and save lives. I work knowing first-hand, the agony that cancer causes in individuals and their family's lives. I was largely raised by my grandmother in a small village in Germany. She was the warm-hearted center of the family who fostered my appreciation for science, arts and music. When I was 17, she developed esophageal cancer. I saw her dwindle away in front of our eyes, in pain and unable to swallow. After several months of agony and with no help available, she was finally relieved from her suffering. Out of this tragedy and loss, I recognized the importance of following my passion for science so that I might help prevent the same suffering among future generations. After graduating from the University of Dusseldorf Medical School, I specialized in medical oncology and became keenly involved in cancer research. By becoming a gastroenterologist and performing endoscopies on my patients with esophageal cancer, I continue to witness the devastating consequences of this disease. A key event in my professional life occurred in 1996 when I moved to the US and began working to develop new cancer treatments with Frank McCormick, one of the leading cancer researchers in the world. All these experiences have allowed me to develop a deep understanding of the problems and to focus my research on questions that might help improve treatment outcomes for esophageal cancer.  My work is driven by one key

Summary

Unnoticed by many, an epidemic involving a devastating type of cancer is developing: Esophageal cancer rates are rising rapidly in the Western world.

The disease is a merciless killer: of the 17,990 patients who will be diagnosed in 2013, 15,210 are expected to succumb to the disease. Unfortunately, surgery is the only treatment that can lead to a cure, and frequently only after initial treatments with harsh chemotherapy and radiation.

Smarter and more effective treatment strategies are urgently needed.

Currently, very little is known about the molecular changes found in esophageal cancer cells that could be targeted with tailored treatments. Using advanced DNA sequencing technology, we have discovered previously unknown changes that occur in the DNA of esophageal cancer cells that cause the fusion, or combining, of two genes. This combination, in turn, activates other genes that make cancer cells divide and survive. With this project proposal, we will confirm that these mutations indeed exist in human esophageal cancer. Furthermore, we will explore the possibility of killing esophageal cancer cells by specifically targeting these fusion genes and investigate how these genes make cancer cells grow and survive.

We expect that results from these studies will set the stage for the development of new and personalized treatment strategies for patients with esophageal cancer.  

Who will benefit?

This study will directly benefit the approximately 20,000 patients who will be newly diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the US this year. Worldwide, the rate of esophageal cancer is much higher, and an estimated 410,000 patients die from the disease every year. 

Budget

Consano donations will be used for: