Despite incredible scientific progress year in and year out, 600,000 Americans and eight million people worldwide still die from cancer each year. This is the statistic that caught the attention of Steve and Joan Clark during the announcement of The Dana-Farber Campaign in May 2021 and inspired their $4 million gift to establish the first two High Pointe Investigatorships in Gastrointestinal Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
“This is 2022 and the statistics related to cancer deaths continue to be alarming,” said Steve Clark. “After all these years and the remarkable scientific advancements, these are staggering statistics, and they cannot be ignored. It is always a matter of following the numbers and, although these numbers are incredibly discouraging, it demonstrates the dire need to continue to ramp up our attack on this disease.”
The gift from the Clarks will support mid-career investigators within the Center for Gastrointestinal Oncology, in perpetuity. The center is an international leader in the development of novel treatments for patients with gastrointestinal cancers, including cancers of the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, bile duct, gallbladder, liver, colon, and rectum. The researchers who earn High Pointe Investigatorships will have an opportunity to expand the incredible research already taking place at Dana-Farber. Currently, patients have access to 1,100 clinical trials, which represent a substantial, potential opportunity for new therapeutics, new treatments, and possibly new cures. As the knowledge base increases, the researchers at Dana-Farber will also continue to make strides in prevention and early cancer detection.
“I am extremely honored that Steve and Joan Clark continue to support the Center for Gastrointestinal Oncology,” said Brian Wolpin, MD, MPH, chief of the Division of Gastrointestinal Oncology and the Robert T. and Judith B. Hale Chair in Pancreatic Cancer at Dana-Farber. “The Clarks have repeatedly risen to the occasion to propel real momentum in gastrointestinal cancer research. These investigatorships will allow for our retention of the most brilliant minds in cancer research, while also helping with our recruitment of new faculty in areas of scientific need.”
The Clarks’ son was diagnosed with gastrointestinal cancer several years ago. This personal experience, as well as the distressing statistics related to gastrointestinal cancer mortality rates, has inspired the family’s giving to Dana-Farber. “We are incredibly blessed to be able to further this cause in this meaningful way,” said Steve Clark. “We encourage others to consider participating within their own respective means. If this community of supporters comes together, some miraculous achievements may be accomplished. The needs are huge, and we must attempt to meet this challenge.”