New discoveries in colon cancer research - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

New discoveries in colon cancer research

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Research to treat colon cancer is turning towards tailoring treatments to individual patients, according to a doctor at the UW Carbone Cancer Center.

Currently, everyone with a colon cancer diagnosis is treated the same way, according to Dr. Dustin Deming, a researcher and colon cancer survivor.

"We actually have discovered a new pathway or mechanism by which colon cancers are formed, and we think this could lead to a therapeutic approach that could be helpful to people," Deming said. "So our hope is that when someone comes in with a new diagnosis of colon cancer, we can test their cancer for different types of mutations and then design a regiment that would work better for them."

Deming says the new discovery could lead to more personalized approaches, customized to the type or stage of colon cancer someone has. The success rate in mice has been 80 percent, which is double the response rate of standard chemotherapy, but Deming says the method may only be applicable to about five percent of colon cancer patients.  

His own struggle with colon cancer has motivated him to work faster and harder at finding new treatments, according to Deming.

"When I was in the lab before, I used to think, ‘Oh that can wait till next week.' But now, there's a new sense of urgency. We can't wait for advances to happen. We need to make them happen now," Deming said.

Deming says he wants to start national clinical trials of the tailored treatments as soon as possible, testing will take at least two to three years, and making these treatments available to the mainstream will take four to six years.

One of the ways he's receiving help to fund his research is through charity events such as Funk Out Cancer, happening on October 19. The concert and silent auction is in memory of Kate Gates Falaschi, who passed away in 2009 and was one of Deming's former patients.

"[Dr. Deming] had met Kate. He was in the room with her the first day she came in," said Gates Falaschi's husband Al Falaschi. "Then he started to tell me that she had made an impression on him."

"Kate was actually the youngest person with colon cancer that I had ever seen," Deming said of Gates Falaschi, who was diagnosed at age 29. "Being just a couple of years younger than her at the time, it had a big impact on me. You could see the hope she had when she came to the clinic. She was always upbeat and it definitely made me want to deal with my cancer diagnosis with as much dignity as I could."

Al Falaschi is organizing and playing at this weekend's charity concert, of which all of its proceeds will go towards research at the UW Carbone Cancer Center.

Funk Out Cancer begins at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 19 at the Barrymore Theater. For more information on the event, Kate Gates Falaschi or the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, visit the Funk Out Cancer website.  

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