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  July 22, 2002

Golf Tournament to Help Raise Funds
for Tumor Bank at Health Center

A golf tournament on Aug. 5 will help raise funds to promote cancer research at the Health Center.

More than 40 volunteers, led by chairman Mark Yellin of Farmington, will participate in 25th anniversary Cancer Research Golf Tournament at the Golf Club of Avon.

This year, all money raised through the tournament will support the creation of the nation's first public tumor bank at the Health Center - a critical addition to cancer research initiatives.

The fund-raising goal is $90,000, of which half has already been raised.

Players may register for the tournament by calling (860) 679-4673. Anyone who cannot participate in the tournament, but would like to make a donation to cancer research, may call the same number.

"Establishing a tumor bank will dramatically improve cancer research efforts and help provide new options for patients with cancer," says Peter J. Deckers, executive vice president of the Health Center and a surgeon with the UConn Cancer Center.

The proposed tumor bank will store tumor tissue so that researchers can study not only normal molecular gene arrangements, but also abnormal changes that may allow cells to become cancer cells.

"The most breathtaking, remarkable advances in cancer care all started with research on the molecular level," Dr. Deckers says. "The creation of the tumor bank will increase our researchers' access to vital cancer cells and streamline research efforts.

"Scientists and researchers need constant access to cancer cells to better understand the nature of these cells on the molecular level," Deckers adds.

The tumor bank will also help patients participating in new cancer research studies. Some cancer patients at the Health Center are enrolled in the study of a novel cancer "vaccine" created from unique proteins found in tumor cells, for example.

Unlike privately owned and operated tumor banks, the Health Center's tumor bank will store tumors at no charge to patients.

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