Eric Tran, Ph.D., is a research scientist for the Providence Cancer Institute and is one of Providence’s newest cancer fighters. He is also a dedicated runner and ran in the Hood to Coast relay race for the first time. Dr. Tran was part of Runners4Research, a team featuring Providence Cancer Center scientists, nurses, doctors and others.
His current research works to harness cells in the body’s immune system to destroy cancer. “We have immune cells, which are called T-cells that can actually recognize and destroy cancer,” says Dr. Tran. “We are trying to harness these T-cells and activate them to become better tumor killers.”
The funds will help develop the next generation of cancer therapy. Immunotherapy holds a lot of promise for the later stages of cancer, whereas radiation and chemotherapy works best for the earlier stages of cancer.
There are still patients whose bodies don’t to respond to the immunotherapy treatments and Dr. Tran and his team are studying this immune resistance and developing strategies to overcome it.
The 2017 Providence Hood to Coast Relay was a huge success, raising more than $740,000 for cancer research at Providence. This is the fifth year the relay has been a major fundraiser for Providence. Teams that fundraise are guaranteed one of the coveted spots in the race. The top fundraising team this year was All In, No Regrets, which raised $42,495 for cancer research.
More than 1,000 running teams participated in the 199-mile Hood to Coast race. An additional
400 walking teams and 50 high school teams covered the 130-mile Portland to Coast race. People traveled from countries such as Tanzania, Australia, Germany, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Canada, Austria and China.