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'Stand Up 2 Cancer' helps local cancer research

Friday, September 07, 2012

Friday night marks a big night in the fight against cancer. The "Stand Up to Cancer" telethon will air on 6abc starting at 8:00 p.m.

The star-studded event boasts tons of celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Halle Berry, Justin Timberlake just to name a few. They will be joined by news anchors from all the major networks, and by researchers working to cure cancer.

Action News health reporter and registered nurse Ali Gorman spoke with one of the researchers about his work before he left Philadelphia for the benefit.

Dr. Jean-Pierre Issa of the Fels Institute for Cancer at Temple Medical School says thanks to funding from Stand Up to Cancer, he is working on ground-breaking research called Epigenetics.

Instead of killing cancer cells with traditional chemotherapy, which causes toxic side effects, Epigenetics aims to re-train cancer cells to act normally. So far, he says the results are promising.

"We have seen enough good results in some patients, in fact spectacular results in a few patients that we are excited about this therapy," Dr. Issa said.

His team is testing it on Leukemia and Myelodysplastic Syndrome or MDS, which is the disease Good Morning America's Robin Roberts, is now battling.

Other researchers at centers across the country are also testing Epigenetics on more common cancers like breast cancer, colon cancer and lung cancer.

Dr. Issa says what makes "Stand Up to Cancer" different is that they fund the most innovative projects that are the most promising, and they bring top researchers together.

"Stand up to Cancer is telling them 'you don't have to compete we will fund all of you, just work quickly, because we want to cure cancer'," said Dr. Issa. "Their directive to the researchers is cure cancer now, not cure cancer in 30 or 40 years. You know, do everything you can to improve patients outcomes today."

Again the telecast begins at 8:00 p.m. Friday night on all the major networks including 6abc.

And if you call in to donate, you may get to talk to one of the celebrities.

(Copyright ©2014 WPVI-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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