The University of Texas – MD Anderson Medical Cancer Center in Houston, which is popularly known as the Texas Medical center is launching a huge battle against eight specific forms of cancer. The efforts are similar to “moon shot” efforts carried out to push for space exploration some fifty years ago. The Texas Medical center is the nation’s largest medical center with one of the highest densities of clinical facilities for patient care, translational research and basic science. The MD Anderson Medical center is expected to spend as much as $3 billion on the project over the next ten years.
The cancers that are being fought against are especially related to deadly forms of ovarian and breast cancer along with lung, melanoma, prostate, and two types of leukemia. The other type of cancer that has been targeted is the myelodysplastic syndrome which the “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Robert is afflicted with and he had a bone marrow transplant to treat it in this center on Thursday.
The main goal of the project is to find cures and lower deaths even though no overall standards have been set as individual projects for various cancers have particular objective. Dr. Ronald DePinho, President of the Cancer Center informed that the hospital is ready for the battle of the 21st century with many weapons needed like genetic information, more precise drugs that are already in place.
Since 1990’s the cancer rates have been falling at an average rate of more than one percent per year even though cancer remains the most dreaded killer disease worldwide. In the United States itself there are more than 1.5 million people diagnosed with cancer out which more than 500,000 may die. The Houston cancer treatment center treats about 112,000 patients a year and is engaged in building a database of tumor samples and their genetic characteristics related with ovarian and breast cancers. Already six teams were chosen to fight the lengthy battle against cancer. Dr.DePinho after becoming the President of the Cancer Center has started a competition among its researchers to submit ideas on how to make inroads against the disease of cancer.
The scientists on this project are planning to study one cancer pathway and how the nearby tissues influence the cancer growth. They also hope to find within five years a way to detect ovarian cancer early. The MD Anderson program got its inspiration from goal set by President John F. Kennedy when he announced in 1962 to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade in a speech delivered at Rice University which is just a mile away from the present location of MD Anderson Cancer Center.