NEW CASTLE — Dr. Dennis Slamon’s cancer research efforts will be recognized for years to come with a monument at New Castle High.
Members of Par for the Cure, a nonprofit breast cancer fund-raising and support organization, approached the New Castle Area school board last month, requesting a spot on high school grounds to establish the Dr. Dennis Slamon Cancer Awareness Memorial. The monument will include a tree planting and selling bricks that will surround the area to remember those who have lost their battle with cancer, and to recognize those who are survivors.
The school board gave its blessing for the project at its June meeting.
Dr. Slamon, a 1966 graduate of New Castle High School, and his colleagues conducted the laboratory and clinical research that led to the development of Herceptin, which targets a genetic alteration found in about 25 percent of breast cancer patients. Herceptin was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in September 1998 and was the first in a wave of new treatments targeting genetic mutations that cause cells to become malignant.
Slamon serves as director of the Revlon/UCLA Women’s Cancer Research Program at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. He also is a professor of medicine and chief of the UCLA Department of Medicine’s Division of Hematology/Oncology and its executive vice chair.
Joann Esposito and her husband, Andy, who with their son, Brian J. Esposito head up the Par for the Cure, attended the school board meeting to express their appreciation for the board’s approving the Slamon Dedication Circle, which is Brian’s project in honor of his mother.
Par for the Cure has been raising funds for nine years, and its goal this year is topping its $1 million mark in funds it has raised so far for Slamon’s research.