The John Estrella Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in memory of John Estrella.
He began his battle with cancer in 1998 when he was diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma (a form of kidney cancer) that was believed to be localized to his left kidney. He had it removed and was blessed with an 85-90% recovery rate. His health unfortunately took a turn for the worse in the summer of 2002, when he began experiencing shortness of breath. It was determined that there was a new tumor in his left lung. For the next 2 years, he bravely fought the cancer through surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and participation in several research studies, but he ultimately lost his fight on March 12, 2004, when he was only 57 years old.
Formed off of his positive outlook and willingness to participate in clinical trials for experimental treatment, this foundation was created to help fund cancer research studies local to the Massachusetts area and has evolved to include a grant that helps give financial aid to fighters just like him. My father was very optimistic about a new discovery just around the corner that would be able to help him and others.
We hope to extend the lives of kidney cancer patients through support, awareness, and funding of cutting-edge research.
Our funding supports a clinical protocol to acquire tumor samples from kidney cancer patients who have a kidney removed. These important samples are being used to identify factors that help predict which patients are likely to require additional therapy for their disease. With our continued funding, this protocol has been expanded to other major hospitals in the area, including Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Beth-Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Nearly fifteen hundred patients to date have participated in this study. A number of tumor markers have been identified using these resources, and studies are ongoing to determine whether these markers can be used not only to identify the presence of kidney cancer, but also to monitor response/resistance to cancer therapies to help individualize each patient’s cancer treatment in order to prolong life and ultimately help lead to a cure!