The Inspirational Quest to Eradicate Cancer

The world-renowned Thoracic Oncologist, Dr. Gerold Bepler, joined I Don’t Care’s Kevin Stevenson for a conversation that was no less than inspirational. Dr. Bepler, President and CEO of the Karmanos Cancer Institute, has a mission; to eradicate cancer. It’s more than a dream for Dr. Bepler; he believes it will be a reality one day.

Dr. Bepler arrived from Germany to the United States in 1983. Following a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute, the starting point for his journey into lung cancer research. This career path took Dr. Bepler through many stops along the way, and in 2010 he joined the Karmanos Cancer Institute.

The mission to eradicate cancer got a boost in 1971 with the National Cancer Act, and Dr. Bepler said there’s tremendous progress towards this goal since that point. “People now diagnosed with cancer have hope,” Dr. Bepler said. “And many of them get cured of the disease and have a good quality of life. That all wouldn’t have been possible without the National Cancer Act.”

Much of the progress made to eradicating cancer at the Karmanos Cancer Institute owes a debt of gratitude to that 50-year-old law for providing necessary funding that makes such research possible.

“The Karmanos Cancer Institute became one of the NCI designated cancer centers,” Dr. Bepler said. “Very quickly, the National Cancer Institute realized just having one cancer institute in Bethesda, Maryland alone wouldn’t be able to achieve that high goal of eradicating cancer. This network established cancer centers throughout the United States.” What started as a couple of centers in the 1970s is now more than 50 comprehensive cancer centers.

The world now possesses many drugs and treatments to treat cancer through the dedication and research of institutes like the Karmanos Center. And some research led to treatments for other diseases. Dr. Bepler mentioned the Karmanos Center developed three of the first FDA-approved AIDS drugs.

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