LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Researchers at the University of Louisville have been granted $11.5 million for their efforts in advancing in the fight against cancer.
UofL’s cancer immunotherapy research has been going on for decades, and doctors believe advancements could lead to cutting cancer deaths to a fraction of what they currently are.
“I believe my children have almost no chance of dying of cancer,” Dr. Jason Chesney, director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, said.
It’s because of the research being done now at the University of Louisville that Dr. Chesney believes future generations will not suffer the same fate as the hundreds of thousands of people that lose their battle with cancer every year.
It’s people like cancer survivor Jeff Habermel that give Chesney hope. He said was facing his third different cancer diagnosis when he met with doctors at UofL.
“The pain in my wife’s face was difficult to watch,” Habermel said. “However, Dr. Chesney looked at us, and said that it was his goal to see that I live until I was 90.”
Habermel is now cancer-free after treatments associated with UofL’s immunotherapy studies.
Thanks to the over $11 million federal grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, UofL has created the Center for Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy (CCII).
UofL doctors said Monday it’s the support from not only the government but local partners like Kosair Charities that could lead to the extermination of cancer by immunotherapy.
“We want help, and we need help,” Kosair Charities President Keith Inman said. “Let’s work together to do that.”
Dr. Chesney added that there’s been a direct correlation between support for the program and its success.
“There’s been an exponential increase in support and an exponential increase in lives saved,” Chesney said.
Approximately 600,000 Americans die every year from cancer. Chesney said with advances in immunotherapy, they’re expecting a 25% decrease in the number of cancer deaths in the next five years, and 50% in the next ten years.