Supporting High-Risk, High-Reward Medical Research
Seed funding for innovative, early-stage research
Personal relationships forged between families and scientists
New approaches to prevention, treatments, and cures
Almost 20 years ago, Frances Schafer’s husband Thomas lost his battle with pancreatic cancer while being treated at Georgetown. She realized recently that in the last two decades, very few studies have focused on this lethal disease.
Through Partners in Research, Schafer met Shahin Assefnia, DVM, an assistant professor at Georgetown who wanted to assess the benefits of combination therapy in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
“The idea is to take advantage of the body’s immune system by using a class of antibodies called immune-checkpoint inhibitors—in combination with chemotherapy and anti-cadherin II antibody—to bring about an anticancer response,” shares Assefnia.
“It’s satisfying to know that you might be helping to find a cure for a disease.”
Pleased with the progress that Assefnia and his team made at the end of the first round of funding, Schafer substantially increased her commitment to Partners in Research to directly fund the next phase of his research.
“It’s one of the best charitable contributions I’ve made,” she says. “It’s satisfying to know that you might be helping to find a cure for a disease. Sometimes these ideas reach dead-ends, but even dead ends can open new pathways to other discoveries.”
For the last five years, Partners in Research has brought donors and researchers together to support early-stage biomedical research studies at Georgetown University Medical Center. The program has brought in more than $800,000 since its inception. In this year alone, it raised almost $240,000 to fund eight projects.
“Researchers often have creative ideas but lack the preliminary data needed to compete effectively for federal grants,”explains Assefnia. “Partners in Research enables us to acquire data to support our NIH grant proposals.”