Siemens Medical solutions pledges $1.5 million to accelerate clinical cancer research

07/26/05

Gift to the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation demonstrates commitment to revolutionizing diagnosis and treatment of disease

MALVERN, Pa., July 26, 2005 Siemens Medical Solutions has committed $1.5 million to the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation in an effort to address a major impediment in the development of new technologies and treatments for cancer--the shortage of physicians conducting innovative translational research.

As a leading diagnostic imaging and therapeutic technology provider in cancer care, Siemens sees this gift as an investment in an essential workforce that is best equipped to move discoveries from the laboratory to patients. By supporting the Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Award, Siemens demonstrates its unwavering commitment to revolutionizing the diagnosis and treatment of human disease.

"Innovation in imaging technologies has enabled researchers to gain a deeper understanding of the cancer development process and promises to deliver an increasingly detailed look at the molecular events taking place when the very first cells become cancerous," said Thomas N. McCausland, president of Siemens Medical Solutions, USA. "Biomedical imaging of cancer patients has become essential to modern oncology practice, and its usefulness will only increase as rapidly developing technologies make their way into practice."

McCausland continued, "With the recent formation of our new molecular imaging division, Siemens has intensified its focus on detecting biological processes at these early stages of disease development, when intervention is more likely to succeed. It is this kind of cutting-edge technology that will help today's cancer researchers find tomorrow's treatments."

According to the recently issued Annual Report of the President's Cancer Panel, the group charged by President George W. Bush to ensure execution of the National Cancer Program, the dearth of translational and clinical researchers--just two percent of the physician workforce nationwide--is a major factor contributing to the bottleneck that now limits the translation of cancer-related discoveries to patients. Young physicians who would like to pursue careers in clinical research often find themselves faced with overwhelming debt from medical school. Consequently, they choose to go into patient practice, as fewer institutions are able to commit the necessary funds to train young physicians in clinical investigation.

The Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Award addresses this alarming issue. Each year, an independent judging panel, consisting of some of the most world-renowned physician-scientists, selects five awardees, each receiving a five-year $750,000 grant to help support their salaries and research expenses. This support protects at least 80% of their time so they can focus on cutting-edge translational research. The award also includes payment of up to $100,000 of their outstanding medical school debt.

This nationally recognized program began in 2000, and the Foundation has since given awards to 29 junior physicians from around the country. Award recipients are utilizing or developing advanced imaging technologies for use in cancer diagnosis and treatment.

"Advances in molecular imaging are absolutely essential if we are to make real progress in cancer diagnosis and treatment," states Richard J. O'Reilly, MD, Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics and Chief of the Bone Marrow Transplantation Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and chair of the selection committee for the Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Award. "We are thrilled that Siemens recognizes the crucial need to attract more physicians into research that will make a difference for cancer patients and has partnered with us in such a meaningful way."

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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