Can curing rare cancers cure all cancers in one day?
Oncologist Gary Schwartz and his team at Columbia University Medical Center are investigating a cure for sarcomas, a rare cancer of connective tissue with over 50 types afflicting about 13,000 Americans annually. Treating such atypical cancers, the team strives to rid people of all cancers one day. “A cure in sarcoma will lead to cures in the more common cancers,” said Dr. Schwartz. “That’s the vision of what we are doing here at Columbia.”
Schwartz specializes in immunotherapy, which harnesses a patient’s own immune system to fight cancer cells. While his team has made significant progress in cancer research, recent federal funding cuts mean philanthropy has become a more critical source of support.
“When a patient comes in smiling and says, ‘I’ve never felt better,’ and I can tell them that their tumor is going away, there’s nothing more satisfying to me,” said Schwartz.