Research & Cure

At Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation we have made it our mission to eliminate colorectal cancer. To this end, we have created the Christine Sapienza Research Fund at the Otto J. Ruesch Center for the Cure of Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancer and the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. We have also developed funds at University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and the Karmanos Cancer Institute. These funds were set up to support innovative medical research directly addressing Gastrointestinal and Colorectal Cancers. By funding comprehensive cancer research institutions, Chris4life is committed to providing financial support to the progressive development of the treatment and cure of colorectal cancer. These philanthropic contributions help to enable researchers to pursue the development of new drugs and therapies for phase one trials. To date, we have launched research partnerships with the Ruesch Center at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer CenterUniversity of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and the Karmanos Cancer Institute. It is our goal to help facilitate these centers, and centers across the nation in the years to come. Please continue reading to learn more about funding at both the Ruesch Center and University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.


The Christine Sapienza Research Fund at The Ruesch Center for the Cure of Gastrointestinal Cancers

Chris4Life has pledged 1.1 million dollars to the The Ruesch Center for the Cure of Gastrointestinal Cancers at Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The Ruesch Center Programs: Clinicians and researchers work together to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer through innovative basic and clinical research, patient care, community education and outreach, and the training of our cancer specialists of the future, including clinical research training.

  • The Ruesch Center has adopted a multidisciplinary team approach to individualized patient care.   Each patient diagnosed with a gastrointestinal tumor will be seen by one or more doctors in the following specialties, all under the same roof:
  • Gastroenterology
  • Surgery
  • Medical Oncology
  • Radiation Medicine/Interventional Radiology                                                                                                    


Dedicated Nurse Navigators guide each and every patient through their treatment process, setting an unparalleled individualized patient care standard.


  • Clinical Research: The Ruesch Center’s vision is to cure every person with a gastrointestinal cancer.  No tumor is identical to any other and the Center is planning a number of clinical trials that sort patients according to their tumor’s genetic make-up, essentially using individual tumor-specific drugs to treat each patient as an individual.  By integrating discoveries in molecular medicine and translational research with a patient-partnering philosophy, the Ruesch Center aims to transform the standard of cancer care.


  • Patient Partnering: From donating an extra blood or tissue sample to trying a brand new drug, every patient who participates in a clinical trial helps take us one step closer toward improving colorectal cancer care.


  • Annual Symposia: By convening representatives from academia and research, the pharmaceutical and insurance industries, public policy, patient advocates and the general public, the Ruesch Center strives to change the outlook for gastrointestinal cancer patients and, this year, to demystify the research process and encourage more people to become partners in the smarter war against cancer.


The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI)

We have also pledged half a million dollars to the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. This center has adopted a comprehensive treatment approach for colorectal cancer, and is distinguished in the breadth and depth of its research facilities, which include:

  • Education Programs
  • Patient Care
  • Prevention
  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment

At UPIC, the ultimate goal is to develop a ‘personalized’ process to treating colorectal cancer patients. This involves research in Translational medications and other research in areas of promise. So far the most promising research priorities for colorectal cancer at UPIC are:

  1. The development of novel treatment approaches for metastatic colorectal cancer.
  2. Investigation of the immune response to gastrointestinal tumors and development of novel biomarkers for the presence of gastrointestinal cancer.
  3. The Hereditary Colorectal Tumor Registry, a national database of patients whose cancers show a familial connection that places them at a higher risk for developing cancer. 

Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute

The Scope It Out 5K Detroit event will benefit a local cutting edge Immunotherapy research program led by Dr. Lawrence Lum, M.D., DSc at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute. Immunotherapy is a treatment option that uses the body’s natural immune system to fight colorectal cancer. Immunotherapy works by stimulating the immune system to work harder, slowing the growth and/or spread of tumors and enhancing the normal immune system functions.

Medical Advisory Board

At Chris4Life we have a Medical Advisory Board that helps us decide where to bridge the gap when it comes to the potential funding of these institutions. These members, who make up the Medical Advisory Board, come from a variety of different institutions giving them a wide background to better serve in the fight against colorectal cancer. This group helps Chris4Life identify key phase one research programs from across the country such as the Otto J. Ruesch Center for the Cure of Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancer and the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Georgetown University and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. Chris4Life has launched a granting process for institutes across the country. More information concerning the grant process Click Here. This funding will provide support for:

  • Laboratories
  • Technical Staff
  • Equipment
  • Supplies
  • Other essential needs to be determined 


  • Myriad
  • Smart Patients
  • Bayer
  • Barrick
  • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
  • Schertler & Onorato, LLP
  • Hugo Creative
  • Building Hope
  • Bisnow
  • Sirtex
  • Chesapeake Employers Insurance
  • PNC Bank
  • Charles Jourdan
  • The Drug and Chemical Advisory Group
  • TAIHO Oncology, Inc
  • Premium
  • Michael's Mission
  • Boston Biomedical
  • Reyes Holdings
  • Frank Sapienza
  • phrma
  • Current Boutique
  • AGH of Greater Washington
  • Fairfax Colon and Rectal
  • Lilly Oncology
  • Aspen Jewelers
  • Sanofi Oncology
  • Colon Cancer Alliance
  • Clyde's
  • Wiltshire & Grannis LLP
  • ABC 7 & NC8
  • Koons Toyota
  • Genentech
  • Conferenceedge
  • Ruesch Center at Lombardi
  • Dean Honda
  • Republic National Distributing Company
  • Steptoe & Johnson LLP
  • Pamela's Punch
  • Rent the Runway
  • GUH Med Star
  • Angeleno
  • Cologuard
  • Scratchdc
  • Mercedes Benz of Silver Spring
  • All Charities Count
  • Medtronic
  • Given Imaging
  • The Sampson Foundation
  • Cancer Prevention Pharmaceuticals
  • NFL Players Association
  • Lisa Lamont & Gary Jankowski Real Estate
  • Federated Investors
  • Amgen
  • 94.7 fresh fm
  • WTOP
  • fogomotion

Are you at Risk For Colorectal Cancer?

  • 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths for men and women combined
  • Colonoscopies not only discover cancer, but can also stop cancer
  • 50% of Americans still do not get colonoscopy reimbursement
  • Colon cancer research is still vastly under-funded

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