The Pink Project
Breast cancer strikes often and it strikes close to home. Awareness and education is crucial, but so is research funding. A portion of the sale of each Pink Denise product goes directly and entirely to breast cancer research through the S.D.Ireland fund. Thanks to the generosity of the S.D. Ireland family, 100% of donations to their Cancer Research Fund go directly to the research lab. All administrative fees and “overhead” are paid for by the family, making every dollar donated a research dollar--and every dollar makes a difference. Since we launched the Pink Project in October 2006, over $181,000 has been raised thanks to the generosity of stitchers like you. Learn more below.
I know David primarily as my fun-loving, sparkly-eyed brother-in-law who, like me, loves a good cup of coffee and spending time with his family. My experiences with breast cancer, though, have introduced me to a different side of David, one I am immensely proud of and grateful for. David’s research is dedicated to finding ways to both diminish the side effects of successful cancer treatments and eradicate cancer-related deaths. His sentinel node detection technique is now preferred by physicians worldwide because of its ease and accuracy. David’s current research focuses on finding effective chemotherapy treatments that attack only cancer cells rather than every cell in the body, resulting in fewer side effects and more positive outcomes.
Unfortunately, Federal funding for cancer research has been severely reduced in the past few years. Research is costly, but not doing research is costlier in lives. Having the preliminary research to present to grant committees is an intense challenge while trying to keep the research afloat and a team intact. David says, “The big leaps and breakthroughs of science are often achieved by the most risky and speculative research. Donated funds allow immediate action on new ideas.”
Enter Scott Ireland, and his wife, Kim. After Scott received treatment for melanoma from David at the University of Vermont, Scott and Kim were so impressed by his cutting-edge research that they created an endowed Professorship in Surgical Oncology at the University of Vermont College of Medicine and made David the first recipient. They subsequently created the S.D. Ireland Cancer Research Fund, which is very unusual in that it pays all its own administrative costs, funneling all donated monies directly into research. That’s where your contribution from the proceeds of this kit comes in. Five dollars of your purchase price of a pink Denise kit goes, one hundred percent, to research through the S.D. Ireland Fund. The purchase of a pink Companion Set contributes $2, and pink long cords $1 to the Fund. As a company, we donate an additional percentage of our entire annual income to the Fund. Any additional contribution you can make will also go where it is needed most, to pay the ongoing costs of research to find more effective and less debilitating treatments for breast cancer.
When I asked David recently what made him choose breast cancer as his focus of research he said, “This disease affects young, old and everyone in between. People wake up in the morning ready for a beautiful day and find a lump in the breast. No way. This has to be fixed. The breast cancer problem is completely solvable. There are great researchers with great ideas and teams of doctors ready to deliver what comes out of the research labs. It only has a price tag. Every single dollar is meaningful. That single donated dollar connects the donor with all the other caring people that want this problem to be eradicated.”
Thank you for joining us in supporting research to not only find better treatments for ourselves and for our children, but to eliminate the fear of breast cancer all together. Be happy, be healthy, and take joy in your knitting and your life!
Sincerely enjoying fibercrafting and hope you are too,
We asked surgeon and breast cancer researcher, Dr. David Krag, for an update on what the lab is working on and how these funds are making a difference. Here’s what he had to say:
Our international team of expert researchers is developing methods to make customized treatments for breast cancer patients. These treatments use the body’s own immune response to eradicate cancer cells in a targeted way. This will ultimately make chemotherapy and radiation a thing of the past.
We are focused on breast cancer, but the methods should be equally effective for any other type of cancer. For example, we are collaborating with researchers who are treating neuroblastoma. This is an uncommon but very aggressive cancer in children. We are already applying the methods generated in our lab to neuroblastoma tumors and will anxiously look forward to our new work in this area.
We are very pleased that as of July, 2013 after a long series of lab-based experiments, this antibody research is now ready for evaluation in patients. The first tests will help us perfect the technique of selecting anti-cancer antibodies in individual patients before we move on to using these antibodies as treatment.
The first patients will have a vaccine (inactive cells) made from their own tumor injected into the skin. We will then use a harmless radioactive tracer to locate the vaccine-draining lymph node which we will remove through a small biopsy. Then we will test all of the hundreds to thousands of different antibodies present in the lymph node to locate those that specifically attack the cancer cells.
It is very important to first determine the number and quality of antibodies produced by the body in response to the cancer vaccine. The next step will be to produce sufficient quantities of the selected anti-cancer antibodies for autotranfusion back to the same patient. Anyone who has seen a loved one go through chemotherapy or experienced it themselves will appreciate the enormity of what this could mean. Instead of killing any rapidly-dividing cell as chemotherapy does, using the body’s own anti-cancer antibodies would affect only the cancer cells. And because the treatment will involve antibodies originating in the patient’s own body, the body’s response to it should be smooth and easy.
We are evaluating new methods to transform the most promising antibodies into therapeutic agents that could soon be used to treat breast cancer patients. We have teamed with world class researchers who are experts in new tumor models and with researchers in Germany who have developed new modifications of antibodies that make them much more active in helping the body engage its own immune system to deal with the cancer.
We are so grateful to the many donors who have made it possible for us to get to this point. We particularly need funds over the next 6 to 9 months to accomplish this first set of experiments with patients. The faster we can move through this phase, the quicker we can move to treating patients! Through the help of many, many friends who have purchased pink Denise products, our research has sped up measurably. Critical equipment has been purchased that will allow experiments to proceed much more rapidly. The funds help very much on a tangible level, but we are also deeply moved by the show of support by so many people. We thank all of you who are sending funds (and good will!) our way through the S.D. Ireland Cancer Research Fund.
From the lab,
David Krag, MD and team