PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — For more than 25 years, thousands of people dressed in pink have flooded Portland’s Waterfront Park for the Race for the Cure — but there are big changes this year, starting with the name.
There are new colors too, that highlight the 4 pillars of work the foundation does.
Purple represents research.
“There’s a sign on my bulletin board in my lab that says ‘What have I done today to cure cancer?'” said Bernard A. Fox, Ph.D.
Fox is the chief of the Laboratory of Molecular and Tumor Immunology at the Earle A. Chiles Research Center at Providence Cancer Center.
“The last decade has seen huge improvements in almost every cancer type including breast cancer,” Fox said.
He’s working on immunotherapy research to fight breast cancer.
“So the immune system can recognize in most cases and destroy cancer but sometimes the cancer figures out a way to escape,” he said.
Dr. David Page, a medical oncologist said immunotherapy could be a game-changer for breast cancer patients.
“I think there’s a lot of potential in the future to replace chemo with these types of treatments,” Page said. “It’s exciting because it uses your own body to cure the cancer. The way it works is it stimulates your immune system to kill the cancer cells, as if it were an infection.”
It’s research like theirs that Komen and the More than Pink Walk help fund. Komen has provided $956 million to research and funded 35 new drugs being approved for treatment.
But Fox says there’s still work to be done.
“There are technologies that we should be applying to study every patient and we’re not doing that because we don’t have the resources to do that,” Fox said.
“It may be a homerun overnight, but over time we’re inching our way towards having a complete cure for breast cancer,” Page said.
The More Than Pink Walk is September 22 at Waterfront Park starting at 9 a.m.