Wilmot Cancer Institute research is part of mission to cut cancer deaths nationwide by 50%

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The White House wants to end cancer as we know it. President Joe Biden announced a plan in September that he thinks can cut cancer deaths by 50% over the next 25 years.

The Wilmot Cancer Institute here in Rochester is part of that mission.

“Almost 2/3rds of the trials at the medical center are in cancer,” said Dr. Jonathan Friedberg, the director of the Wilmot Cancer Institute.

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President Biden’s plan is mainly about money. Infusing more of it into research and treatments of promise and researchers who might be on to something.

“We’re optimistic that a lot of this funding will ultimately flow back to Wilmot here in Rochester,” Friedberg said.

That’s because there is more research going on here than ever before.

“We are approving one new study to open a week, so, we estimate that over the next year they’ll be 15 new trials that are coming in across a variety of cancers,” Friedberg said.

That’s without this new funding.

“Our grants from the National Cancer Institute have nearly doubled over the last five years we now get about $16 million a year from the National Cancer Institute and we get about $30 million total from outside foundations and other parts of the government and we’re looking to grow that further,” Friedberg said.

The hope of course is that research can help current patients in our community now and all cancer patients eventually.

“We enroll about 500 patients a year on interventional treatments clinical trials that number is higher than many of the top cancer centers in the country and what I’m particularly proud of is not just that number but the breadth of the clinical trials that we offer,” Friedberg said.

They cover almost all types of cancer.

“We are looking to continue to build what we call developmental therapeutics which is earlier phase studies where patients may have no conventional treatment options and we really see our goal to be that patients would never have to leave Rochester to get the top treatment in cancer even for the most rare and complex cancers,” Friedberg said.

Of course, any additional funding Wilmot can get through this new initiative doesn’t just help patients and science. It helps the local economy too.

“That money coming into Rochester means we’re doing great signs here but it’s also good for our community that money ends up paying salaries for people who work here and whose kids go to school here and create the fabric of this community,” Friedberg said.