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April 27, 2007

Purdue Cancer Center celebrates gift and new director

Linda Rohrman
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The Purdue Cancer Center on Friday (April 27) will announce a $100,000 gift and introduce its new director.

The event, including the unveiling of a new sign visible from the street, will begin at 3:30 p.m. and will take place in a tent outside the Hansen Life Sciences Building. The celebration is free and open to the public.

The gift was given by Purdue Cancer Center board member Linda Rohrman, of Lafayette, Ind., and will support initiatives to raise awareness of the center and research achievements.

"Cancer affects one in every four Americans, and almost all of us know someone who has battled the disease," Rohrman said. "We are entering a new era in health care, and the elimination of cancer is possible. We must support research to achieve this goal and win the war on cancer."

According to the American Cancer Society, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. It is estimated that there are 10 million Americans with a history of cancer, and cancer caused 13,000 deaths in Indiana last year.

"Purdue has been at the forefront of progress in cancer treatment and early diagnosis, and the Purdue Cancer Center is recognized internationally as one of the best basic-research centers," said current center director Richard F. Borch. "Progress in diagnosing certain cancers at an early stage and advances in treatment have led to a significant decrease in cancer-related deaths, but there is more work to be done. This funding will allow the center to build upon its successes and continue to develop new cancer drugs, diagnostic tools and treatments to eliminate suffering and save lives."

Timothy Ratliff, a University of Iowa faculty member and administrator, was recently appointed director of the Purdue Cancer Center and will begin this July. He will be publicly introduced for the first time during the event.

"The National Institutes of Health have called upon the nation's researchers to eliminate cancer as a threat," Ratliff said. "Purdue is leading the way through innovations allowing early detection and highly effective treatment methods that cause far fewer adverse side-effects than those available today. Researchers here have developed nanosensors that detect cancer biomarkers from a single drop of blood and a method of targeting anticancer drugs directly to cancer cells so that toxic chemicals do not harm healthy tissue. The collaboration of researchers in the Cancer Center is remarkable and allows the university to call upon the strengths of researchers from all of its colleges and disciplines."

The Purdue Cancer Center is one of just seven National Cancer Institute-designated basic-research facilities in the United States. The center, which was established in 1976, attempts to help cancer patients by identifying new molecular targets and designing future agents and drugs for effectively detecting and treating cancer. The center also is affiliated with the Oncological Sciences Center located in Purdue's Discovery Park.

Writer: Elizabeth Gardner, (765) 494-2081,

Sources: Richard Borch, (765) 494-1403

Timothy Ratliff, (319) 353-3071,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;


Linda Rohrman is serenaded by the Purdue Glee Club at the Dick and Sandy Dauch Alumni Center during a 2004 Campaign for Purdue event. (Purdue News Service file photo/Dave Umberger)

Note to Journalists: The alternate rain location for the celebration is the lobby of Hansen Life Sciences Building.

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