Cancer Researchers, Patients Support Winship 5K Side-by-Side

Winship 5K on FacebookOne of the most inspiring parts of Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University’s Win the Fight 5K race is seeing physicians and researchers run alongside their patients. In fact, many members of the Winship care team turn out on race day to support the cause, and many even host their own teams. Among these participants is Donald Harvey, PharmD, and director of Winship’s Phase I Clinical Trials Unit.

Dr. Harvey and other researchers in the Phase I unit work with volunteer participants to test the safety of new drugs and treatments and identify possible side effects. Winship’s Phase I Center is one of only two such units in Georgia and by far the largest and busiest, with 38 trials conducted in 2011 and research that has led to four drugs in the FDA approval pipeline. These drugs will hopefully go on to cure people of cancer or extend their lives for many years.

Recognizing that funding through generous donations and events such as the Win the Fight 5K allows for broader and deeper clinical research, Dr. Harvey created his own 5K team to raise support. The MTDs: Maximum Tolerated Distances, have been running together for the past two years. Their team name is a play on “maximum tolerated dose,” the highest dose of a drug or treatment that can be administered without causing side effects.

“The most meaningful moment on race day to me was seeing a number of Phase I trial participants on the race course for the second year in a row,” recalls Dr. Harvey of last year’s race. “It’s clear that we have entered a new era of drug development in cancer when Phase I patients are able to come out to support the cause.”

Donald Harvey & Holly Johnston

Holly Johnston and Dr. Donald Harvey

When the MTD runners take their marks on October 5, 2013 for the 3rd annual Winship Win the Fight 5K, they will be joined by a new team member, Holly Johnston, a current participant receiving treatment from one of the phase I clinical trials. Diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2005, Holly has not let her diagnosis stop her from living life to the fullest. As a clinical trial patient, she has experienced firsthand the impact of funding for cancer research and is eager to give back by raising awareness and money through the 5K.

“Fundraising is a critical gift for the future, and we must continue to educate and participate,” Holly says. “The Win the Fight 5K is an opportunity to physically try something I have never done before, while bringing awareness of research and development to the forefront.”

In regards to her team captain, Holly exclaims, “Dr. Harvey and the rest of the Phase I clinical trial care team give us personal attention that makes for a trusting relationship. They are family – they love us as much as we love them.”

If you are interested in learning more about the Win the Fight 5K, want to run, or are considering starting your own team, or simply want to help support other runners, visit the Winship 5K website for more information!

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