Finding a Cure for Colon Cancer with The Wunder Project

How does the Wunder Project approach finding a cure for colon cancer?

Cure for Colon CancerDr. Heinz-Josef Lenz is a professor of medicine whose focus is to understand the molecular makeup of colon cancer. By understanding the molecular makeup of cancer, doctors can better understand how the cancer functions and develop new treatment options.

Gloria Borges, a young colon cancer patient, approached Dr. Lenz in 2010 and asked about finding a cure for colon cancer. Dr. Lenz told her that if she could find the funding, he could find a cure. As a result, The Wunder Project was born. The Wunder Project is a movement to find a cure for colon cancer. They have a goal of raising $250 million to fund their research. Every dollar raised by the group goes directly toward cancer research. Dr. Lenz believes a cure may be found by the end of the decade.

Video Transcripts

Heinz-Josef Lenz, MD: My name is Heinz-Josef Lenz. I am a professor of medicine and preventive medicine here at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles. My clinical and research focus is really to understand the molecular makeup of colon cancer for a couple of different reasons. One, I want to better understand why colon cancer acts clinically in a particular way, is aggressive or sensitive to chemotherapy. And the second is to really develop new treatment options. By understanding the genetic makeup, we will get understanding of how we can really interfere with the progression and better development of treatment options.
Then I met Gloria about almost three years ago and as you probably all know from her website and her blogs, she is a very dynamic patient. And she has actually changed and transformed the life of many of my patients dramatically. I get almost everyday phone calls or emails referring to a blog and saying, you know I talked to Gloria, I know Gloria, I went on Gloria’s website that I should talk to you.
Gloria contacted me about almost eight months ago and saying, oh my god, MD Anderson is really developing a new program, the Moon Shots program, trying to cure cancers and they selected six cancers, but colon cancer was not one of them. She says I don’t understand why do they not include colon cancer. So I told her because they cannot. So she says, can you do that and I said, if you would have enough money, if you can waste the money, I think we can change the way colon cancer is treated and we will cure more and more colon cancer patients. That was the birth of the WunderGlo project.
Now, this sounds very nice and it is like a fairy tale, obviously the devil is in the detail, but we have worked out a comprehensive network of scientists around the world, Europe, US basic scientists, epidemiologists and clinical scientists and we have now put together really an outline how we can develop successful drugs which might be able to cure colon cancer. Obviously, we need all your help and the WunderGlo foundation is really set up to push the development of this kind of drugs forward into the clinic. There is a very extensive scientific milestone outlined in the project to make this happen.

Heinz-Josef Lenz
Heinz-Josef Lenz, M.D., FACP, is the Associate Director for Clinical Research and Co-Leader of the Gastrointestinal Cancers Program at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Lenz is Professor of Medicine and Preventive Medicine, Section Head of GI Oncology in the Division of Medical Oncology and Co-Director of the Colorectal Center at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.


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