Founder's Message

By Douglas Hixson, PhD

You see things and say "Why?" but I dream things that never were and say "Why Not?" -- George Bernard Shaw, philosopher

Welcome to the COBRE Center for Cancer Research Development (CCCRD). This center, the first of its kind in Rhode Island, became a reality through the efforts of many talented people. The CCCRD is a dream that has been pursued for over 30 years by Louis Leone, MD, the founder of cancer treatment in Rhode Island, a colleague and friend who has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to keep the dream alive. The mission of the CCCRD is to develop the cancer researchers of the future, which is a rewarding endeavor for everyone involved. To accomplish this mission, the CCCRD will provide promising young investigators access to the wisdom and experience of senior faculty mentors as well as cutting edge technologies in biomedical research that were previously unavailable in Rhode Island. The unique nature of this center is reflected in our logo, which incorporates the three C's in CCCRD in the form of waves, the largest wave symbolizing the CCCRD as an important and unique resource for Rhode Island, the Ocean State, and the two smaller representing the mentoring relationship between senior and junior faculty.

I was brought up to believe that the only thing worth doing was to add to the sum of accurate information in the world. --Margaret Mead

This is a time of opportunity for cancer research in Rhode Island. With the combined $8.4 million dollars provided by Rhode Island Hospital and a grant from National Center for Research Resources, a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) in Cancer Research Development was established. This is first National Istitutes of Health(NIH)/National Center of Research Resources(NCRR) designated cancer center in Rhode Island. The expressed purpose of the CCCRD is to provide new investigators with the guidance, financial support and front line research technologies they need to make the breakthrough discoveries that will lead to improved methods for diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

If my doctor told me I only had 6 minutes to live, I wouldn't brood; I'd type a little faster. --Isaac Asimov

Why are some people more susceptible to cancer? Why does Rhode Island have a much higher rate of cancer than the country at large? These questions are still begging for answers. One-fourth of all deaths in Rhode Island are attributed to cancer; cancers of the colon-rectum, breast, lung and prostate account for 55 percent of all cancers in the state (Cancer Control Program, Rhode Island Department of Health, 1994-1998). This high cancer rate costs the state of Rhode Island an estimated $500 million annually (American Cancer Society), a figure that does not consider the emotional toll and quality of life issues. This high cancer rate is one of the most compelling reasons for more research into the key biochemical events leading to cancer. This is, knowledge that will form the basis for better methods for early detection, diagnosis and treatment. Even with current methods, oncologists have success rates of up to 90 percent when cancer is treated at an early stage. To curb the troubling cancer statistics in Rhode Island, a public awareness of major risk factors such as obesity and smoking, and major lifestyle changes must occur. These issues are being addressed by the Lifespan Center for Behavioral Medicine.

We invite you to browse the CCCRD website and learn more about the researchers and their projects. We encourage you to access the website frequently for new links and information. Join with our enthusiastic young investigators and their senior faculty mentors as we strive for new knowledge through basic research and its application. We believe that this research will give cancer patients in Rhode Island new weapons and new hope to conquer their disease.