The Friends of the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute celebrated significant advances in cancer research and treatment at An Evening of Hope, an educational and fund-raising event, Oct. 19. The sold-out event at the Wilmington Country Club raised $107,000 to benefit the Gene Editing Institute at the Graham Cancer Center.
The Gene Editing Institute is a worldwide leader in personalized genetic medicine. Guests heard from its founder and Director Eric Kmiec, Ph.D., an international pioneer in molecular medicine and gene editing.
“Gene editing is rapidly becoming one of the most dominant and impactful techniques in biomedical research today and will lead to novel, therapeutic regimens in the treatment of many types of cancer,” Dr. Kmiec said.
Dr. Kmiec has led research teams in developing gene-editing technologies and genetic therapies for inherited disorders, including leukemia, lymphoma and esophageal and liver cancers. In a breakthrough discovery, researchers at the Gene Editing Institute found that combining the CRISPR gene editing tool and single-stranded DNA oligodeoxynucleotides – short strands of synthetic DNA – greatly enhances the precision and reliability in editing the human genome. With this combination, researchers are better able to identify and develop innovative therapies and pharmaceuticals to revolutionize cancer treatment.
“The Gene Editing Institute is a catalyst that will speed progress in personalized medicine for cancer and other diseases,” said Nicholas J. Petrelli, M.D., Bank of America endowed medical director of the Graham Cancer Center.
Long-time friends of Christiana Care Pete and Tina Hayward were special honorees at An Evening of Hope. Pete Hayward is a former Christiana Care trustee, and Tina Hayward is a current trustee who led an effort to bring “baby cams” into Christiana Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to enable parents to connect remotely with their newborns during their stay.
“The Haywards have been tremendous supporters of Christiana Care for many years, and we wanted to recognize their many important contributions,” said Lois Galinat, chair of the Friends of the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute.
With Galinat, Diane du Pont, Elisa Komins Morris, Dana Nestor and Katie O’Dell-Shreve co-chaired An Evening of Hope.
“The Friends of the Helen F. Graham Center are valued partners in advancing research that will accelerate prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer,” said Christiana Care President and CEO Janice E. Nevin, M.D., MPH. “Their hard work and dedication support our neighbors in achieving optimal health through innovations in research, prevention and care.”
Founded in 2002, the Friends of the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute is a volunteer organization working in cooperation with the clinical staff of the Graham Cancer Center to help fund programs that enhance the patient care experience, support research, and provide public education on prevention, early detection and treatment of cancer.