Stephen Estrada

My life has been handed back to me. I’m not afraid to plan things a year in advance, and I’m not living in fear of pain and chemotherapy. I’m back to living my life.

Stephen EstradaStage IV Survivor & Immunotherapy Trial Participant

The Colon Cancer Alliance has funded research in three primary areas:

  • Young Onset Colorectal Cancer

    In 2014, we coauthored “The Increasing Incidence of Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer: A Call to Action,” which was published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings. The purpose of this publication was to raise awareness for young onset colorectal cancer, as well as to highlight:

      • The biological differences and genetics of younger vs. older onset colorectal cancer
      • The need for earlier screening for high risk individuals
      • The importance of discussing family history
      • Greater awareness of classic colorectal cancer symptoms
      • The role of primary care physicians in recognizing symptoms and recommending diagnostic testing

    In 2016, we partnered with the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), who we worked with to identify our two 2016 Blue Hope Research Award recipients, Drs. Sarah B. Stringfield and Tatianna C. Larman.

      • Larman of Johns Hopkins University will evaluate young onset colorectal cancer in a study that looks at ND5 loss as a potential predictor for future therapeutic approaches. She previously discovered an unidentified genetic mutation from The Cancer Genome Atlas and hopes to identify unique differences between early onset and late onset colorectal cancer.
      • Stringfield from the University of California, San Diego will explore colorectal cancer in young adults and how it may be different than cases of the disease in older patients. She will be investigating the presences of viruses and bacteria in colorectal adenocarcinoma samples and the surrounding tissue to look for possible viral triggers for the development of cancer in colorectal cancer tumors.
  • Immunotherapy and Biomarkers

    Through a partnership with American Association of Cancer Research (AACR), in 2014 we awarded our Blue Hope Research Award to Dr. Marios Giannakis, M.D., Ph.D. from Dana Farber Cancer Institute in the field of biomarker research. Dr. Giannakis’ research involves extensive genomic sequencing, in which to discover previously unappreciated genes that are abnormal (mutated) and important for colorectal tumors. This will lead to the development and use of smart drugs targeting these cancers that would be uniquely suited for patients with these cancer mutations. Second, we can match multiple factors (lifestyle, diet, drugs, etc.) to the genetic make-up of these tumors and figure out how these factors affect specific subtypes of colorectal cancer.

    At the University of Colorado, Denver, we have invested in immunotherapy trials and biomarkers research.  In 2015 funds were used to help develop a mouse model growing a colorectal cancer tumor with a humanized immune system, in order to better test immunotherapy and combination strategies to treat microsatellite stable colorectal cancer.  We also used some of the funds to genetically characterize tumors from younger patients with CRC and compare the results to older patients with CRC.

    Located in Detroit, MI, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute is dedicated to cancer research and we are proud to support the work Karmanos is doing in biomarkers research.

  • Patient-Centered Research

    At Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Ruesch Center our funds are dedicated to patient care costs for patients on clinical trials that aren’t covered by the study sponsor or insurance.  The ability of the Ruesch Center to pay these expenses both provides access to new treatments for patients (who might not be able to participate otherwise) and helps to more rapidly accrue patients for trials

    At the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) we have invested in colorectal cancer research, including critical issues regarding overall quality of life and survival and how eastern herbal medicine can work in combination with western therapies.

Thank You


We would like to extend a very special thank you to Lauren Barnard, Erica Andracchio and the team at Roanne’s Race as well as the family and friends of Jake Lyons and Olympus for their generous gifts that will support our upcoming research grant on young-onset colon cancer.

Thank you also to Brian and Kathleen Hersey, Christi Edwards and Joseph Gouveia for their support of this important research initiative.