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Where the $$$ Goes



Statement from Mark Israel: 

Philanthropic dollars are critically important for our ability to fight cancer. This year we plan to focus on several areas of investigation: tumor immunology, molecular epidemiology, prevention (screening and behavioral change), experimental therapeutics, early phase clinical trials, and personalized medicine. These areas are not new, but it makes sense to concentrate our efforts to have the greatest impact possible (bringing research into patient treatment) as quickly as possible. 


We will continue to fund Prouty Pilot Project grants, which are an outstanding way to move our science forward; nursing education, which keeps our nurses abreast of best practices; and the all-important patient support services, which ease the path of our cancer patients and their families. 


If I could, I would personally thank every single participant, volunteer, sponsor, and donor for helping to make The Prouty the wonderful event it has become. We are so grateful for all of the effort you put into raising money for our fight against cancer. Research conducted here has helped change the way medicine is practiced. With your help we will continue to lead the way. 



Norris Cotton Cancer Center is the grateful beneficiary of the fundraising efforts of the Friends. The application of monies raised by the Friends is tailored to the needs of the Cancer Center as identified by its leadership groups—Executive Committee, Cancer Research Committee, and Clinical Cancer Committee.


One particular form of funding is the Prouty Pilot project awards, which are small-dollar grants that allow researchers to test novel hypotheses. With these preliminary data they can then apply for much larger federal grants. Over a five-year period, Prouty Pilot project grants totaled $1.2 million and then brought in more than $20 million in federal grants, which is a testament to the excellence of the science.

Here are four examples of Prouty Pilot projects that have gone on to receive funding:

  • “Lighting up Brain Tumors” - Some of the most aggressive brain tumors look like the surrounding normal brain tissue. To make it easier to distinguish tumor tissue, Cancer Center neurosurgeons, supported by a Prouty pilot grant, partnered with Thayer School engineers to devise a microscope system which when combined with a small molecule injected into patients prior to surgery will light up brain tumors. This allows surgeons the opportunity to take as much of the tumor as possible. The pilot studies led to NIH grants and clinical trials here at NCCC that benefit our patients.
  • “Nanotechnology Busts Tumors” - Another group of researchers comprised of engineers, biologists and NCCC cancer doctors, works with very small iron particles called nano-particles. Tumor cells love to gobble up these tiny particles. When the tumor cells are loaded up with these particles and a magnet is held nearby it causes the particles to vibrate and heat up killing the tumor cells that contain them. This group of researchers, brought together by Dr. Mark Israel and started with a $50K Prouty pilot grant, resulted in a $12.5 million grant and an ongoing clinical trial that shows that the approach can cure oral melanoma tumors in dogs. The group is already working on a clinical trial with this approach to treat breast cancer.
  • “Turning on the Immune System” - There are several groups who are exploring different ways to use the patient’s own immune system to attack and kill their tumors. Cancer cells are clever as they are able to turn off the immune system and cloak themselves. Our researchers have figured out a way to disable the tumor cells’ cloaking mechanism and to help the immune cells find the tumor cells. Finally, your immune system can now see the cancer cells as the enemy! These groups were so successful in their approach--funded by Prouty money—that they have obtained federal funds and partnered with pharmaceutical companies in order to test their strategies with patients in clinical trials.
  • “The Achilles Heel of Cancer” - This group of researchers is devising a strategy to find the underbelly, or Achilles heel, of cancer while sparing normal cells. Many of the chemotherapies used today attack both the normal and tumor cells, which is why cancer drugs have so many negative side effects. This approach led to the discovery of drug-like molecules that target the Achilles heel of a subset of very aggressive brain and pancreatic tumors. This group is now moving to the next step and in collaboration with NCCC oncologists and surgeons is working hard to move the first one of these experimental drugs into the clinic.


For more information about current research, please log on to


Recent Research

Paul Burchard and Francine Blumentalde Abreu in the Pathology lab.The Prouty helps fund a truly comprehensive spectrum of research topics—from the development of nanoparticle-based treatments, to new drugs targeting only cancer cells, to personalized cancer treatment, to radiation therapy enhancements, to cancer prevention studies for colon cancer, to palliative care interventions, to quality of care initiatives improving treatment for cancer patients. Nothing comes easy, and improving cancer treatment always requires a comprehensive approach plus the patience and resources to go through the many steps necessary to develop a new drug or a new treatment for even one of the hundreds of diseases called cancer.

Money raised by The Prouty funds research in many ways. Although one way is through Prouty pilot grants, mentioned above, Prouty dollars support the research enterprise throughout Norris Cotton Cancer Center.

For more information about current research, please visit the NCCC website here.



Patient Services:

Money raised through The Prouty also makes possible patient supportive services that are otherwise unfunded. These programs help ease the path of cancer patients and their families with support groups, massage therapy, transportation assistance, art and writing programs, and much more. 




Funding from the Friends for patient and family-centered services is allocated through the Executive Committee and implemented by the Patient Services Coordinator. Examples of applied funding:


• Patient and Family Support Services for patients and loved ones include massage, therapeutic harp visits, writing and arts programs, Tai Chi, comfort supplies, and classes on relaxation techniques. In addition, cancer information is provided through educational seminars, a well-stocked library and through the toll-free Cancer Help Line. Plus, transportation assistance is available through Prouty funds.

• Patient Navigator Program. Now embedded in the Manchester clinic through a 50-50 partnership with the American Cancer Society, this program helps patients, families, and caregivers navigate the many systems needed during the cancer journey. Trained Patient Navigators link those dealing with cancer to needed programs and resources.

• Cancer Support Groups reach out to people with cancer and their families, offering support to newly diagnosed patients, caregivers, and long- time survivors.

Nursing Education and Support
Application of philanthropic funds, administered by a committee of oncology nurses and the Executive Committee, expands educational opportunities for nurses and nurtures those who care for our patients.





Mail donations to:

Harpoon Race c/o Friends of Norris Cotton Cancer Center
One Medical Center Drive
Lebanon, NH 03756

Questions? Call (800) 266-8744




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