SHELTON, Conn., (Sept. 15, 2017) — Connecticut has one of the highest cancer rates in the country but also the greatest concentration of doctors. That combination makes the state both a cause for concern and an ideal laboratory for cancer research.
It is here that young scientists like Jason Crawford, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Microbial Pathogenesis at Yale, are on the leading edge of bold, innovative research to eradicate the deadly disease.
The 38-year-old scientist, who lives in Shelton with his wife and two young children, heads the Crawford Lab at Yale. Supported by groups like the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and the William Raveis Charitable Fund, Crawford oversees some 15 associates at work at any one time on some 35 research projects.
At Yale, he and his team are working to understand the molecular mechanisms of cancer formations and how to prevent them from forming. At the same time, they have identified a novel type of enzyme that inactivates cancer-causing microbes to prevent them from damaging DNA. The DNA-damaging pathway is associated with nearly 70 percent of colorectal cancer patients. They are also looking into how to put the enzyme into yogurt microbes to eliminate the risk of colorectal cancer.
With scientists like Crawford-and with support from forward-thinking companies and foundations in the area-cures may not be far off.
“Support from William Raveis and Damon Runyon have been very helpful because it’s allowed us to take risks and pursue out-of-the-box ideas,” Crawford says-ideas usually not supported by conservative medical foundations like the NIH. “And it’s taking these kinds of risks, I believe, that will lead to the big discoveries in the long run.”
This October 1st, Crawford will be one of half a dozen scientists expected to turn out for the 3rd annual William Raveis Ride + Walk cancer research fundraiser at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk, Connecticut. To date, the event has raised more than $1 million, with 100% of monies raised going to Damon Runyon for grants supporting innovative research like Crawford’s. Nearly 1,000 bicyclists and walkers are expected to turn out at Calf Pasture Beach this year to participate in the events that include 12-mile, 25-mile and 50-mile rides, a 5-K walk and children’s 100-yard dash, plus food, music and guest speakers.
To register for this year’s William Raveis Ride + Walk, go to www.RaveisRideWalk.com.