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  Golfers Against Cancer

Golfers Against Cancer (GAC) is a national organization founded in 1997 by a group of Houston Golfers who had lost two of their golfing buddies to cancer. Motivated to raise money to fund cancer research, they created an annual golf tournament and a live and silent auction. In the following years, New York, Atlanta, Boston and Greensboro established their own GAC chapters.

Denver GAC chapter was formed in 2009 with the following mission:
  • Help fund efforts to find a cure for cancer through local research at the University of Colorado Cancer Center in Aurora.
  • Raise research money from individuals and corporations.
  • Select projects through comprehensive proposals and on-site visits. The Denver GAC Grants Committee follows and reports on the progress of the research on a regular basis.
  • Obtain matching funds from the University or other resources to enhance each grant amount, elevating the studies' potential for continued funding from such agencies as the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institute of Health (NIH).

Denver GAC Committee Members

Scott Pearson, Chairman
David Benner
Murphy Huston
Geri Pearson
Cory Sullivan
Lynn Heasley


Golfers Against Cancer 2016 Summary

The 2017 Golfers Against Cancer Tournament and Gala were major successes and we were able to provide $145,000 to the University of Colorado Cancer Center for 3 research projects. All three projects involve collaboration of experienced scientists working together to test novel ideas in cancer research where innovation is a key criterion required to achieve funding through agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Based on the success of the researchers that we have supported in the past, we expect that these pilot funds will be leveraged into larger research grants from the NIH and other agencies. In this way, our efforts are a catalyst for research, analogous to venture capital funding for entrepreneurs.

In 2017, we funded six outstanding researchers through two projects focused on basic mechanisms of cancer and one project on head and neck cancer:

Dr. Jay Hesselberth, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. He has teamed with Dr. James DeGregori, PhD, a Professor in the same department, on a project entitled “Multiplexed detection of DNA repair capacity for cancer diagnostics”. ┬áThe goal of their project is to develop a novel sequencing-based assay for measuring DNA repair capacity that can be scaled to measure repair events catalyzed by endogenous activities in cells, both normal and cancerous. If successful, the assay may serve as a means to acquire specific information from cancer cells that supports precision medicine-based treatments in the future.

A team of investigators comprised of Joaquin Espinosa, PhD, a professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Matthew Galbraith, PhD, an Instructor in the Department of Pharmacology, Natalie Serkova, PhD, a Professor in Anesthesiology, Radiology, Radiation Oncology and Pharmacology, and William Old, PhD, an Assistant Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at the University of Colorado Boulder. The objectives of the project entitled “Identifying CDK8-based combinatorial therapeutic strategies” are to identify novel CDK8-based combinatorial therapeutic strategies, and to initiate preclinical studies to test their effectiveness with the ultimate goal is to generate the preclinical data required to bring CDK8-based therapies closer to the clinic.

Sana Karam, MD, PhD, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus will collaborate with Antonio Jimeno, MD, PhD, Department of Medical Oncology to complete a project entitled “Radiotherapy for sensitizing poorly immunogenic tumors to immunotherapy”. The goal of the studies is to develop rational combination therapies in which radiotherapy and novel immunotherapies are delivered in precise ways to greatly enhance the efficacy of either strategy alone in head and neck cancers. The long-term goal is to use the findings to positively influence clinical trial design and head and neck cancer patient treatment.

In past years, the Denver Chapter of Golfers Against Cancer has funded research on blood cancers (leukemia), gastrointestinal cancer (colon, pancreas, etc), bladder cancer, breast cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, head and neck cancer, as well as childhood cancers and general mechanisms of cancer development and prevention. (View Projects)

To make a direct donation to support cancer research through the Golfers Against Cancer, Donate Now. If you are interested in supporting a particular area of cancer research (e.g. breast cancer, childhood cancer, etc), with an individual donation of $25K or more (Donate Now), you can help solicit applications in that area and help select from among the applications.