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U-M cancer surgeon to bike across country in Tour of Hope with Lance Armstrong

24 people will ride to raise awareness of cancer clinical trials
U-M plans community event Sept. 14 as send-off for surgeon

--added 9/8/05

Ann Arbor, MI. -- James Geiger has seen first-hand the impact clinical trials have made on pediatric cancer care. But not enough people appreciate that promise.James Geiger, MD

“Nearly 60 percent of all children with cancer are treated on clinical trials, but only 5 percent of adults participate in trials. If we had more patients participating in trials, new and better therapies would be discovered sooner,” says Geiger, M.D., associate professor of surgery at the University of Michigan Medical School.

Geiger, along with Lance Armstrong and a team of 23 other cyclists will spend nine days riding across the country to raise awareness for the importance of cancer clinical trials in the Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope. Geiger, who lives in Toledo and works in Ann Arbor, is the first person from Michigan or Ohio to participate in the Tour of Hope.

To send him on his way, U-M will hold a Tour of Hope rally from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, at the University Hospital Courtyard, 1500 E. Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor. The afternoon will begin with a one-mile bike ride from the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center to C.S. Mott Children's Hospital. The free event is open to the public.

“I have witnessed the incredible courage and positive outlook of children with cancer. Children focus on the present and are resilient with tremendous hope even in the face of terrible odds,” Geiger says. “My passion has been to help wipe out cancer so no child will have to suffer from or succumb to this disease.”

tour of hope logoIn addition to his work as a pediatric cancer surgeon, Geiger conducts research on immunotherapy, which involves using the body's own immune system to attack cancer cells. He is studying the use of cancer vaccines to treat sarcoma, a type of cancer of the soft tissues.

The Tour of Hope begins Sept. 29 in San Diego and follows a southern route across the country, ending Oct. 8 in Washington, D.C. Throughout the nine-day ride, the 24 participants – all of whom have a connection to cancer – will be divided into teams of six that will ride relay-fashion for five to six hours per day so that someone is on the road 24 hours a day.

Geiger and the rest of the team are completing a demanding 16-week training course developed by Armstrong's trainer, Chris Carmichael. Armstrong will join the team at points along the way.

Armstrong, who won his seventh Tour de France in July, partnered with Bristol-Myers Squibb to create the Tour of Hope three years ago to raise awareness of the importance of cancer research. Armstrong was diagnosed in 1996 with testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and brain. Two years later, after beating cancer, he returned to cycling. Armstrong credits with saving his life those who came before him and participated in cancer research.

Geiger agrees and says he hopes to see more cancer patients – particularly adults – participate in clinical research trials.

“Much of the success in treating childhood cancers can be directly related to the extensive use of clinical trials. With greater awareness of the benefits of cancer clinical trials, hopefully more patients will seek participation in appropriate studies,” Geiger says.

For information about clinical trials at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, call the Cancer AnswerLine™ at 800-865-1125.

 

Written by Nicole Fawcett

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Please note: The articles listed in the Cancer Center's News Archive are here for historical purposes. The information and links may no longer be up-to-date.