Georgetown receives $6.75 million to research gastrointestinal cancers

Otto and Jeanne Ruesch, left, with Michael Kaiser

The Georgetown Medical Center recently received a $6.75 million gift to do research on colon, pancreatic and other gastrointestinal cancers, according to Blue and Gray.

The gift comes from Jeanne Ruesch, whose husband, local businessman and philanthropist Otto Ruesch, died of pancreatic cancer in 2004 at the age of 64.  Ruesch said that when her husband was diagnosed, she was shocked by how few treatments there were for pancreatic cancer.

The money will go towards creating the Otto J. Ruesch Center for the Cure of Gastrointestinal Cancers.  The center will focus on research, drug discovery and patient advocacy and will be part of the Medical Center’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. John Marshall, Director of the new center and chief of hematology and oncology at the Georgetown University Hospital, told Blue and Gray that he thinks the new center will greatly further research on gastrointestinal cancers:

We have lost our way in gastrointestinal cancer research in this country. We have accepted that merely adding time to one’s life is adequate as a treatment goal and have gotten away from the charge of curing these cancers …

We are not going to solve everything within gastrointestinal cancer treatment within the walls of Georgetown. But we will provide a model for how to move forward.  If we’re right—and I believe we are—we will have a major impact on drug discovery and development and on bringing about a cure for these deadly cancers.

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