Stephen Grand had no idea how close to home cancer would strike when he and his wife, Nancy, began supporting cancer–related research at UCSF in 2003. They certainly felt it was a worthy cause, but one that would be beneficial to someone else’s husband or wife, mother or father.
Stephen and Nancy Grand
An avid cyclist, Grand had recently finished a 100–mile one–day ride down the coast of California. Three months later, “Boom … I discovered I had an advanced case of a cancer I had never even heard of. It was unbelievable. I never imagined it would happen to me,” he says.
After Grand was diagnosed with a rare version of multiple myeloma, he joined the board of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF), an organization focused on funding research, improving the process of drug development, and selecting the most promising projects to support in the search for new treatments. A collaboration between the MMRF and UCSF soon followed, and thanks to an initial $2 million gift from the Grands in 2009, the Stephen and Nancy Grand Multiple Myeloma Translational Initiative (Grand MMTI) at UCSF was established and the Grands have remained strong supporters. The Grand MMTI — led by UCSF oncologists Jeffrey Wolf, MD, and Tom Martin, MD — includes basic, translational and clinical scientists dedicated to the rapid discovery, development and delivery of novel therapeutics for multiple myeloma patients.
Says Wolf, “Although we have made much progress, multiple myeloma remains very difficult to treat and effective options are limited. By bringing to bear the expertise of UCSF in partnership with the MMRF, we are confident that the MMTI will hasten the pace at which new therapies to treat the disease are developed.”
Grand, now in complete remission and still cycling, hopes to help transform UCSF’s clinical and research strengths into a world–class, West Coast–based center of myeloma expertise. “With all of the new knowledge developing around genetics, and the new scientific tools to design drugs that target the problem genes, progress is really only limited by time and the need for substantial investment.”
(Taken from the UCSF Catalyst Newsletter: http://support.ucsf.edu/files/pdfs/catalyst_fall2009.pdf)