Early Cancer Detection and Research in Memory of Joan Luft Cohen
Last year we started a fundraising campaign in memory of Joan, who died of ovarian cancer 20 years ago. We remember her as an active and welcoming person who was focused and passionate on the things she was involved with, giving 110% to everything. We decided to raise money in her memory for the University of Arizona Cancer Center (ACC) that provided such wonderful care for her.
Working with the ACC staff, we identified the Digital PCR (dPCR) as the appropriate piece of equipment to achieve the goal to improve early detection of cancer and survival rates for cancer patients. The ACC has already begun using the dPCR for research, early detection, diagnosis and other testing for Cancer Center patients in Tucson and other participating agencies around the country.
During a recent visit to the ACC our family met with the Research Lab Director. She is extremely excited about this new equipment and how it helps their research and existing patients. We have included a brief description from the director of how the dPCR is used.
Digital PCR (dPCR) is an established method for the fast and reliable identification of significant cancer-related mutations. It is a precise and cost-effective method for monitoring response and resistance to cancer treatments by testing for relevant cancer-driver and therapy-resistant mutations targeting over 100 common cancer mutations found in breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, and colorectal cancer among others. dPCR assays are designed for monitoring resistance and response to therapy in liquid biopsies. Liquid biopsies are increasingly being used in the detection of rare mutations for monitoring disease progression and resistance to therapy. This is a test that is done on a sample of blood to look for fragments of DNA released by tumor cells into the circulation. An advantage of this approach is that liquid biopsy may be used to help find cancer at an early stage. It may also be used to help plan treatment or to find out how well treatment is working or if cancer has come back. Being able to take multiple samples of blood over time may also help doctors understand what kind of molecular changes are taking place in a tumor.
We are honored that so many people have made such significant donations towards making this memorial to Joan a reality. Approximately 66% of the funds needed to complete the purchase of the dPCR has been raised, leaving an additional $9,600 to accomplish our goal. Please share this cause with your family, friends and colleagues who may have an interest in supporting the ACC efforts in early cancer detection. We are so grateful to all that have already contributed. The projects goal is in range and we look forward to meeting it soon.
Max, Jonnie, Laura, Eileen, Bridget, Brian, Dan, Marina, Jonathan, Sabrina
P.S. You can also mail in your donation. Your check payable to “UAF / UA Cancer Center,” with “Joan Luft Cohen Memorial” in the memo line, can be mailed to UA Cancer Center, UAHS Development, PO Box 245018, Tucson, AZ 85724. If you would like to learn more about the process used by Digital PCR visit this link.