Big federal grant demonstrates why Roswell Park needs continued support - The Buffalo News
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Big federal grant demonstrates why Roswell Park needs continued support

The $11 million federal grant for ovarian cancer research at Roswell Park Cancer Institute is just one more example of the important work being done right here.

The five-year grant to support three trials of immunotherapy approaches to fighting the disease is a vote of confidence for the institute.

This is Roswell Park’s first Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant. It is only the fifth such grant in the United States devoted to ovarian cancer and the only one that focuses on using the immune system to fight the disease.

The National Cancer Institute, through an appropriation from Congress, established these grants in 1992. The idea is to get scientists to collaborate and speed the development of new strategies for preventing, testing for and treating cancers in specific organs of the body.

The grant will pay for a major initiative with the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute to examine new ways to prevent and treat the disease. One other project will study ways to reduce the threat of cancer in women at high risk of developing ovarian cancer.

The need is urgent. The disease, often detected in late stages, claims 14,030 lives each year.

This grant brings national recognition to Roswell Park and should add to its stature in New York. Not long ago, Roswell Park was, shall we say, a bit under-appreciated by the state.

At one point, the state threatened to cut off all funding for Roswell Park by March 2014. It was an improper decision made amid worsening financial times and has since been eased, but the state is still insisting on reducing its support for Roswell Park.

As we’ve said before, that is the wrong approach. Roswell Park is a cornerstone in the burgeoning Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and major employer in Western New York. But beyond that economic impact, it is one of only 41 comprehensive cancer centers in the country and is home to cutting-edge research. It is an asset to this region that demands a long-term commitment from the state.

Cancer researchers go where the money is, and a promise of continued state support will help attract scientists to Buffalo.

The latest grant builds on the significant investment Roswell Park has made in recent years to focus on immunotherapy for cancer and is yet more evidence of the need to continue supporting Roswell Park. The researchers there need all the help they can get as they go about the business of saving lives.

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