Italy Came To Doylestown

The Bucks County Chapter of Fox Chase Cancer Center hosted April In Florence on Saturday, April 14, 2012. Sponsored by Lauren and Don Morel and the Bucks County Herald, this year’s event returned to the opulent Keenan Motors Mercedes-Benz facility in Doylestown.  This Italian themed event was another unforgettable evening of dining and entertainment that featured the delicious cuisine of the Waterwheel in Doylestown, cocktail music by Bucky Clark, and featured vocalist Lynell Antonelli accompanied by Bob Egan. Louis E. Della Penna remarked, “Instead of our annual trip to Italy this year, my wife Carol and I stayed in Doylestown as Fox Chase Cancer Center kicked off this spring with April In Florence”.  All proceeds from this event, including those from the live and silent auctions as well as the special pledge,  directly support research with the goal of one day rendering every cancer curable.

The Bucks County Chapter of the Fox Chase Board of Associates was established in 1983 as a non-profit organization devoted to raising funds for cancer research and prevention for FoxChaseCancerCenter. This year’s special pledge featured Dr. Igor Astsaturov, a rising star at Fox Chase who is pioneering the personalized treatment of cancer.  Dr. Astsaturov stated that, “we are now entering a new era in patient care, when each patient will be treated as an individual. Sequencing the DNA of each person’s cancer will enable us to understand what makes that person’s cancer behave differently, and provide a personalized treatment that is more effective and less toxic.” Dr. Astsaturov’s work is already paying dividends in that there are two patients, Chris Kalargheros and Barry Dixon, who would not be alive today were it not for the new treatment strategies resulting from his research. These patients attended April In Florence to give personal accounts of how Dr. Astsaturov’s new approach to cancer research and treatment has saved their lives.

Chris Kalargheros recalled that upon learning his MRI showed lesions on his liver and pancreas, “My whole world came crashing down. Thinking back, it was a very frightening time for Liz and me. She worked as a school teacher and we had three-month old infants to care for.” Dr. Astsaturov called Chris personally to share the news. “After talking to Dr. Astsaturov, I felt confident in the treatment options he suggested. That phone call really lifted my spirits,” added Chris, who couldn’t believe the doctor called him himself. “I felt there was promise and hope. Chris says that today he lives by the motto that “Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.” Another of Dr. Astsaturov’s patients, Barry Dixon, was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer in September 2009.  Barry recalls that, “the chemo was not making much impact on the tumors so I went toFoxChaseCancerCenterto see Dr. Igor Astsaturov. Dr. Igor found the clinical trial that has given life back to me today.  When you hear Stage IV liver cancer you really just don’t know what will happen.  I had lost 85 pounds and some days I didn’t think I was going to make it to the next. But, this clinical trial has given me back hope and given me back my life.  I cannot thank Dr. Igor enough. I hope that the medications will help others just as they’ve helped me.”

Chris and Jacki Kalargheros are pictured with Dr. Astsaturov (right) at the Fox Chase Cancer Center Cancer Genome Institute. Fox Chase Cancer Center is one of the few Centers in the nation in the process of developing cancer genome sequencing as a tool to tailor treatments to individual patients. The Genome Sequence Analyzer is pictured on the left.

April in Florence committee members include Sara Moyer, Lillian O’Connor, Georgia Ford, Carole Barocca, Patty Ogiony, Robin Wiest, Judy Langan and Dan Levin.

FoxChaseCancerCenterwas among the first institutions to be designated a NationalCancerInstituteComprehensiveCancerCenterand is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Fox Chase researchers have been awarded two Nobel Prizes and their physicians are routinely recognized in national rankings. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, visit Fox Chase’s Web site at www.fccc.eduor call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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