CTRC executive director will run 12-hour marathon to raise cancer funds, awareness

SAN ANTONIO (April 2, 2009) – For 12 hours next weekend, a leading cancer center executive and internationally regarded cancer researcher will be a foot soldier in the war on cancer.

Tyler Curiel, M.D., M.P.H., will be a one-man team in the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life®. The 53-year-old expects to run at least his age in miles between 7 p.m. Friday, April 10 and 7 a.m. Saturday, April 11 on the track at The University of Texas Health Science Center, on Babcock Road at Merton Minter Drive. Dr. Curiel is executive director of the Cancer Therapy and Research Center (CTRC) at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio. As the Voelcker Distinguished University Professor of Targeted Cancer Therapy, he leads a research team that is actively studying novel treatments for a variety of cancers, especially ovarian cancer.

Dr. Curiel will have plenty of company as he runs his laps around the track along Babcock Road at the back of the campus. So far, 19 teams made up of faculty, staff and students are taking turns walking or running to raise funds to fight cancer and raise awareness of cancer prevention and treatment. The family-style event with an ‘80s music and dress theme offers more than a workout. Kids can enjoy a moon jump, Easter egg hunt and face painting. Food booths, bake sales, and bracelet sales will benefit the American Cancer Society. Learn more about the event at http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?pg=entry&fr_id=17528.

“It’s an overnight event to symbolize the fact that cancer never sleeps,” says race coordinator Ani Jivani, first-year medical student at the UT Health Science Center.
As a one-man team, Dr. Curiel is emulating the Relay For Life’s pioneer. According to the event Web site, in May 1985, Gordy Klatt, M.D., a Tacoma colorectal surgeon, wanted to enhance the income of his local American Cancer Society office. He decided personally to raise money by doing something he enjoyed: running marathons. Dr. Klatt spent a grueling 24 hours circling a university track for more than 83 miles. Throughout the night, friends paid $25 to run or walk 30 minutes with him. He raised $27,000 to fight cancer.
This will be Dr. Curiel’s fourth Relay For Life®. He views it as a warm-up for much more grueling events he will run this summer in Colorado. He hopes to complete both the Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run in July and the Leadville Trail 100 Run in August, both for the 10th time, a feat never before achieved. This achievement would stand next to his listing in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest run in 24 hours while dribbling a basketball (over 108 miles). He set that record while raising funds to study a rare form of cancer.

Find out what makes Dr. Curiel run and ask him about his research by making a donation and running along with him next weekend. To make a donation, visit the Web site listed above, type in the name “Tyler Curiel” and follow the instructions for donating, online or offline.
Photo caption: Tyler Curiel, M.D., M.P.H., in 2003 on the Tulane University track in New Orleans. Medical students cheered as he broke a world record by running over 108 miles in 24 hours while dribbling a basketball.
Photo Op Note: Runners will be asked to take a break from 9 to 9:30 p.m. for a luminarias service to honor cancer survivors and those who have died. There also will be opening and closing ceremonies.

The Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is one of the nation’s leading academic research and treatment centers, serving more than 4.4 million people in the high-growth corridor of Central and South Texas including Austin, San Antonio, Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley. CTRC is one of a few elite cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute (NCI) Designated Cancer Center, and is one of only three in Texas. A world leader in developing new drugs to treat cancer, The CTRC Institute for Drug Development (IDD) is internationally recognized for conducting the largest oncology Phase I clinical drug trials program in the world, and participates in the clinical and/or preclinical development of many of the cancer drugs approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. For more information, visit the Web site at www.ctrc.net.

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