Fighting the toughest cancers

Gwen McCane was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2010, and after it was beaten back with chemotherapy and radiation, it showed up in her liver. At first, she couldn’t find anyone to treat her. “They all said, ‘It’s inoperable, it’s incurable, nothing we can do.’” But her brother convinced her to “let Stanford have the last word on that.’’ Now she’s getting microwave ablation, a minimally invasive treatment that kills tumors with heat. And she’s back to holding selfesteem workshops for at-risk teens and being a sparkling companion to Carl, her husband of more than 50 years.

Watch Gwen's Story

Turning deadly diagnoses into manageable conditions begins in the laboratory. And in this, Stanford Medicine has an advantage: an enterprise of basic research and biomedical innovation that is second to none. Bringing together world-renowned experts in genomics, imaging, immunology, bioinformatics, regenerative medicine, and other disciplines, we’ll assemble and fully empower dream teams of scientists who are capable of unraveling the mysteries of even the most recalcitrant cancers.

With each new discovery, we’ll offer new hope to patients fighting cancers that have proven most resistant to cure. Transforming Cancer Care will also create “impact funds” that target melanoma, pancreatic, thoracic, skin, kidney, bladder, prostate, stomach, colon, and women’s cancers.







The Stanford Vision

Revealing cancer to the immune system
Stanford stem cell scientists have developed a promising cancer drug by identifiying a chemical signal that hides cancer cells from the immune system. CD47 – dubbed “don’t eat me” by the team – tricks the immune system into thinking cancer cells are normal so it won’t attack them. An antibody developed by the team silences CD47 so the body can recognize and defend itself against more than 20 types of cancer. This work, rejected as too speculative by one public funding source, is moving into clinical trials this year. That’s a scant seven years after the team’s initial discovery, as opposed to the typical drug development time frame of 20 years or more.