Schussel gift helps Dana-Farber scientists explore new territory

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Source: Dana Farber Impact, Published: Winter 2018

Both Sandi and George Schussel believe that knowledge is power, and, with more knowledge, the end of cancer is inevitable. When Sandi was diagnosed with angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma (AITL) and began treatment at Dana-Farber with oncologist Matthew Davids, MD, MMSc, she and her family learned that the genetic drivers of her rare blood cancer were not known. In response, the Schussels made a new gift of $100,000 to the previously established Sandra and George Schussel Family Fund at Dana-Farber to research the drivers of T-cell lymphomas, including AITL. The fund will be managed under the direction of David Weinstock, MD, whose lab focuses on T-cell lymphomas. “As a nurse, I am very interested not only in advancing discoveries, but also in encouraging the sharing of information within the research community,” Sandi said. Their gift is already having a significant impact. With support from the Schussels, an instructor in Weinstock’s lab, Samuel Ng, MD, PhD, created the first cell line for this disease. “This cell line will allow us to determine which genes AITL depends on for survival and to find drugs that specifically kill it,” Weinstock said. “The Schussels’ gift has helped us make a completely unique resource for the whole lymphoma research community.” George shares this commitment to increasing knowledge of this “orphan” disease: “The more we know about what we’re battling, the easier we can find cancer’s weak point, and we can treat it with agents less injurious to patients.” ■

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