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Pelotonia fueling breakthrough efforts in cancer battle


Ever donate to a cause and think: What’s actually happening with those dollars?

In 12 years, Pelotonia has raised more than $225 million. Even with COVID-19 shutdowns in 2020, Pelotonia riders planned their own individual or socially distanced small-group activities and raised $10.5 million.

This year the ride returns to an in-person event, Aug. 6-8, and the nonprofit group recently announced plans to up its efforts and bring in $50 million annually for cancer research by 2026.

So where does that money go?

One-hundred percent toward innovative cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, funding everything from recruitment of top researchers to training the next generation of researchers, providing cutting-edge equipment and creating critical collaborations, to name a few examples. It also funds major breakthrough efforts in the fight against cancer.

Here are five recent initiatives Pelotonia dollars have funded:

  1. The Pelotonia Institute for Immuno-Oncology (PIIO)

    In July 2019, the PIIO was established under the leadership of founding director Zihai Li, MD, PhD. The research initiative is focused on discovering how immunotherapy can prevent and treat cancer. According to Li, the institute is developing superior capabilities in immune-monitoring, artificial intelligence and immuno-informatics that will mean more effective, less toxic treatments and even cures.

  1. Turning the Page on Breast Cancer in Ohio

    Black women have the highest breast cancer mortality rate of any racial or ethnic group in the United States. This effort is focused on reducing those frightening numbers through increased education and providing access to genetic counseling and testing and appropriate treatments for Black women at an increased risk of breast cancer in 12 Ohio counties.

  2. Ohio Prevention and Treatment of Endometrial Cancer

    This statewide initiative is helping to identify and treat endometrial (uterine) cancer in women. It aims to screen up to 1,000 women with endometrial cancer for Lynch syndrome and other inherited genetic conditions linked to greater risk of cancers, such as endometrial, ovarian, stomach and colorectal. Tumor samples will undergo molecular profiling to help identify targeted treatments personalized to each patient’s tumor characteristics.

    Patients with Lynch syndrome and their at-risk family members also will be educated about the importance of genetic testing and cancer-prevention strategies based on their increased risk for associated cancers.

  3. The Ohio Colorectal Cancer Prevention Initiative

    By screening newly diagnosed colorectal cancer patients and biological relatives for Lynch syndrome, this recently completed initiative helped find family members who also may be at risk of developing colorectal, uterine, ovarian and stomach cancers. More than 50 hospitals and medical practices across Ohio implemented the Lynch syndrome screening to advise patients and physicians of results while offering genetic counseling and recommendations.

  4. Beating Lung Cancer in Ohio

    This statewide clinical research effort takes on the most deadly form of cancer: lung cancer. The study will evaluate the impact of advanced gene testing and advice on lung cancer treatment and survival. It also aims to decrease smoking among smokers with lung cancer and their family members. The research also will assess improvements in quality of life among those in the study.

For more information on the Pelotonia impact, check out this annual report.