Exceptional Expertise

Exceptional Expertise

The power of our people.

Our Harvard affiliation and location in the Longwood Medical Area make us a magnet for the best minds. Equally important: every person at Dana-Farber is on a mission to provide the best, most compassionate care possible.

Many of our clinicians conduct research. Most researchers see patients. This enables us to nimbly speed the cycles of discovery, creating new treatments and protocols that will enable patients to Defy Cancer in Boston, and worldwide.

Dana-Farber Chairs, Investigatorships & Fellowships

Dana-Farber Chairs, Investigatorships & Fellowships

Our people are at the heart of everything we do at Dana-Farber and we are committed to providing all the resources and tools they need to revolutionize cancer research and care now and in the future. The Dana-Farber Campaign will raise vital funding to bring the best clinicians and scientists from around the world to the Institute. Gifts will make it possible for the outstanding researchers already at Dana-Farber to spend more time discovering and delivering better treatments to patients. Support also allows researchers to test their most innovative and high-risk ideas at the earliest stages, accelerating the chance for...

Our people are at the heart of everything we do at Dana-Farber and we are committed to providing all the resources and tools they need to revolutionize cancer research and care now and in the future. The Dana-Farber Campaign will raise vital funding to bring the best clinicians and scientists from around the world to the Institute.

Gifts will make it possible for the outstanding researchers already at Dana-Farber to spend more time discovering and delivering better treatments to patients. Support also allows researchers to test their most innovative and high-risk ideas at the earliest stages, accelerating the chance for groundbreaking discoveries. The innovations for which Dana-Farber is renowned happen when our talented community of clinicians and researchers has the time and the tools they need to work together with patients to Defy Cancer.

• Naming an endowed Dana-Farber Chair honors and recognizes distinguished faculty members and provides invaluable financial support to pursue the research and care initiatives that will lead to new discoveries.

• Endowed investigatorships support exceptionally creative and committed physician-scientists at the mid-point of their career. They help the Institute attract and retain faculty of the highest quality, and ensures that important research directed by the investigator is continually funded.

• Fellowships ensure that the Institute attracts the next generation of leaders. With steady funding, clinicians can focus on spending more time with patients, and translating successes in our clinics into new protocols that can help other patients around the world.

For more information or questions, please contact Liz DeLucia.

Tiger Teams to Tackle Toughest Cancers

Tiger Teams to Tackle Toughest Cancers

Accelerating success requires risk-taking. That is why a special focus of The Dana-Farber Campaign is to fund what we are calling breakthrough "Tiger Teams." Modeled on NASA’s methodology employed to save the Apollo 13 space mission, these teams will bring together talented researchers and clinicians from multiple disciplines to focus on some of the biggest unsolved cancer challenges. Each Tiger Team project has a timeline of three to five years, with specified objectives, milestones, and deliverables to ensure the work produces meaningful results. Right now, two Dana-Farber Tiger Teams are making significant progress in areas of critical patient need: The...

Accelerating success requires risk-taking. That is why a special focus of The Dana-Farber Campaign is to fund what we are calling breakthrough "Tiger Teams." Modeled on NASA’s methodology employed to save the Apollo 13 space mission, these teams will bring together talented researchers and clinicians from multiple disciplines to focus on some of the biggest unsolved cancer challenges. Each Tiger Team project has a timeline of three to five years, with specified objectives, milestones, and deliverables to ensure the work produces meaningful results.

Right now, two Dana-Farber Tiger Teams are making significant progress in areas of critical patient need:

The Hale Family Center for Pancreatic Cancer Tiger Team brings together experts in genomics, metabolism, immunotherapy, medicinal chemistry, and clinical trials to develop new ways to prevent, detect, and treat pancreatic cancer. The team has made several discoveries already that are speeding the development and deployment of novel therapies for pancreatic cancer patients—including the very first targeted therapy for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and PARP inhibitors.

The Jennifer Oppenheimer Cancer Research Initiative supports the Glioblastoma Tiger Team, bringing together experts in cell-based therapies, immunology, clinical trials, and psychosocial oncology to address key obstacles facing patients with this aggressive brain cancer., including surgery, new drug development, and palliative care.

Additional funding for new Tiger Teams is needed. Supplied with the high-tech equipment and staffing resources they need, these teams will be unleashed to revolutionize the way the world treats cancer.

For more information or questions, please contact Liz DeLucia.

Inspired—Meghara

Inspired—Meghara

My father was originally diagnosed with multiple myeloma close to 20 years ago. Back then, there were not nearly as many treatment options or clinical trials available to him. Unfortunately, he lost his valiant fight in 2005. This experience was a driving force in my decision to become a clinical research nurse at Dana-Farber, a world-renowned cancer and research institute, whose entire mission is to eradicate cancer and improve the lives of cancer patients. Every day I help patients and their families navigate through what is an extremely challenging and scary part of their lives. I assist in protocol development...

My father was originally diagnosed with multiple myeloma close to 20 years ago. Back then, there were not nearly as many treatment options or clinical trials available to him. Unfortunately, he lost his valiant fight in 2005.

This experience was a driving force in my decision to become a clinical research nurse at Dana-Farber, a world-renowned cancer and research institute, whose entire mission is to eradicate cancer and improve the lives of cancer patients. Every day I help patients and their families navigate through what is an extremely challenging and scary part of their lives. I assist in protocol development and provide clinical care and patient education to patients undergoing investigational treatments.

Dana-Farber is currently involved in over a thousand clinical trials. It is part of the reason our momentum of success continues to accelerate. Since my father passed away, Dana-Farber has continued to lead the way in the development of treatments across all cancers—including multiple myeloma. Lifespans have tripled and there are about 20 new drugs that weren’t available when my father was diagnosed.

My father was passionate about promoting cancer research and increasing awareness. Although I wish my father would have been able to receive or taken part in one of the many clinical trials available today, I know that he would be so proud of our effort to Defy Cancer.

— Meghara Walsh, BSN, RN

Caring—Chris

Caring—Chris

I'm Dr. Christopher Lathan, and I am the Chief Clinical Access and Equity Officer at Dana-Farber as well as the Founding Director of the Institute's Cancer Care Equity Program. Let’s share some data. Black patients with cancer are likely to die sooner than white patients, and patients with financial stress at the time of their diagnosis are more likely to experience pain and depression than those who have financial reserves. These disparities start from the first step in fighting the disease—screenings. Nationwide, minorities are less likely to receive screenings. This happens for many reasons: lack of insurance or transportation, or...

I'm Dr. Christopher Lathan, and I am the Chief Clinical Access and Equity Officer at Dana-Farber as well as the Founding Director of the Institute's Cancer Care Equity Program.

Let’s share some data. Black patients with cancer are likely to die sooner than white patients, and patients with financial stress at the time of their diagnosis are more likely to experience pain and depression than those who have financial reserves. These disparities start from the first step in fighting the disease—screenings. Nationwide, minorities are less likely to receive screenings. This happens for many reasons: lack of insurance or transportation, or a job where they cannot take time off due to a loss of income. These challenges systematically block care for the most vulnerable.

Our group’s work is centered on the effects of race, class, and access to care. This includes racial disparities in treatment, negative perceptions about genetic testing, and how precision medicine is utilized across different racial groups. It is our belief that participation of underserved communities in tissue banking, clinical trials, or intervention studies is a product of presence and trust. Our goal is to reduce cancer disparities and broaden access to high-level, quality care in our vulnerable communities. Zip code, skin color, and income should not determine who is able to access treatment. Our goal is to be present and eager to give, and not so eager to take. To build our relationships based on trust. To create a path that allows those with the heaviest burden of cancer to be treated with the highest level of expertise.

Our team has focused on embedding ourselves in community health centers to provide guidance and care during the diagnostic process. We utilize community-facing patient navigation, and now plan to integrate our community-facing navigation approach throughout our clinical system. So, let’s go back to the data. Improving care for the marginalized doesn’t just improve care for the marginalized. It improves care for all. And improving care for everyone, well … that’s just one way Dana-Farber continues to Defy Cancer.

— Christopher Lathan, MD, MS, MPH
Chief Clinical Access and Equity Officer, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Founding Director for Cancer Care Equity, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Medical Director, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Brighton
Associate Medical Director, Dana-Farber Network
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Researcher—Bill

Researcher—Bill

Like most scientists, I like solving puzzles. And there has always been something puzzling to me about oxygen. Oxygen is the lifeblood of living organisms. And although we need it to survive, too much can be toxic. For years, my colleagues and I studied how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability. This puzzle was complicated, like most basic research. But we kept at it, knowing it was only a matter of time before we broke through and learned enough to translate our discoveries to help patients. And we were right. Today, our findings have implications for treating a variety...

Like most scientists, I like solving puzzles. And there has always been something puzzling to me about oxygen. Oxygen is the lifeblood of living organisms. And although we need it to survive, too much can be toxic. For years, my colleagues and I studied how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability. This puzzle was complicated, like most basic research. But we kept at it, knowing it was only a matter of time before we broke through and learned enough to translate our discoveries to help patients.

And we were right. Today, our findings have implications for treating a variety of diseases, including anemia, heart attacks, strokes—and cancer. When I won the Nobel Prize for that research, I was thrilled—thrilled that our efforts were now helping patients, thrilled for all of my mentors, trainees, and collaborators over the years who made the work possible, and thrilled to celebrate this moment with people who mean so much to me.

I also share this honor with my late wife, Carolyn.

Carolyn was a Dana-Farber faculty member and the founding director of the Comprehensive Breast Health Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Her patients loved her, because she was the type of doctor who would call her patients back after she put the children to bed—even if it was 10:00 pm.

Then, this leader in the treatment of breast cancer—was diagnosed with breast cancer. Through her treatment, Carolyn continued her research and advocacy for patients and spent time with our two children.

In 2010, Carolyn was diagnosed with glioblastoma, the deadliest of brain cancers, unrelated to her previous breast cancer. She passed away in 2015. She was a pioneer, my partner, my hero, my inspiration … and my best friend.

Her determination continues to inspire me. Because determination is what it takes to solve the hardest puzzles—ones we continue to tackle every day at Dana-Farber. Today, we are close to many breakthroughs in cancer treatment. They will happen. With persistence, vision, and the power of a diverse ecosystem of collaborators, we will get there. You can find all of that here at Dana-Farber, a place I’m happy to call home.

— William G. Kaelin Jr., MD
Nobel Laureate in Medicine, 2019
Researcher, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Sidney Farber Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

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3 Lasker Awards
1 Laurie H. Glimcher, MD, President and CEO, named No. 1 on the Commonwealth Institute and The Boston Globe Magazine's list of the top 100 women-led business in Massachusetts.
21 National Academy of Medicine members
13 National Academy of Sciences members
12 American Academy of Arts and Sciences members
2 Nobel Prize Winners
15 National Cancer Institute Outstanding Investigators
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