MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Minnesota native Don Wright, who has completed 84 marathons in the last 11 years – all of them with multiple myeloma – will be a featured participant in the inaugural event of a new partnership fighting to accelerate access to new medications for cancer patients. Don, who is still running marathons even though he is 73 years old and on active treatment for his cancer, was able to get a then-investigational medicine through a clinical trial five years before it was approved for use in the United States. During that time he watched many of his fellow patients succumb to their cancers while waiting for regulatory approval for a new drug they desperately needed. The event, entitled “Closing the Gap Between Hope and Cures for Cancer Patients,” is intended to create a pathway to accelerate and expand access to investigational medicines for patients with cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
“I’ve run well past the five year prognosis that was the expected survival when I was diagnosed,” said Don Wright, who runs on behalf of the E-RACE CANCER social media campaign. “But the innovative medicines like the one that has kept me alive and well, work only if we can get them. When we’re running out of time, we want the option to try a promising new therapeutic, rather than wait for lengthy approvals.”
The Minneapolis event is a partnership created by the Richard Schulze Foundation, established by the founder of Best Buy as a way to give back to his community. Joining the Foundation is the University of Minnesota’s Masonic Cancer Center and the Children’s Cancer Research Fund. Their first conference November 5th will feature Dr. Robert Hariri, Chairman, Celgene Cellular Therapeutics and Co-Founder, Human Longevity, Inc. and Dr. Colin Hill, CEO of GNS Healthcare, a big data health care company, and will be moderated by John Morrissey, Chair of the Schulze Foundation Scientific Advisory Board.
“We are on the edge of a crisis. Despite the decade spent on studies costing hundreds of millions of dollars, less than 7% of cancer drugs receive FDA approval,” said John Morrissey. “Our goal is to enable science to work for patients and change the current system that strangles innovation and endangers the lives of individuals who are dying for a new treatment.”
The conference will take place on November 5, 2014 at the University of Minnesota McNamara Alumni Center’s Memorial Hall.
For more information and conference registration, please visit closingthegapnow.org.