The Bernice E. Holland Fund was established in June 2007 at TGen. The Fund is supported by the Bernice E. Holland Foundation located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Foundation was established in 1999 in memory of Bernice E. Holland who died at age 85 from colon cancer. At the time Bernice was diagnosed, she was full of life and still interested in dancing, painting and doing volunteer work. Her son, Rick Holland founded the Foundation in Bernice's memory to support colon cancer research.
According to the American Cancer Society, excluding skin cancers, colon cancer is the third most common cancer in men and women in the US, affecting all racial and ethnic groups. In 2013, nearly 51,000 individuals will succumb to colon cancer. More than 90 percent of people with this disease are diagnosed after age 50. The good news is that with improved screenings and treatment options, survival is increasing for colon cancer patients, but much work remains.
At TGen, Dr. John Carpten leads a group of researchers that identified a novel recurring mutation of the gene AKT1. AKT1 is important to cancer treatment strategies as it may cause tumor cells to become resistant to certain types of chemotherapies. Dr. Carpten's research team is actively pursuing experiments to better determine additional biological significance of this AKT1 mutation.
Dr. David Duggan and his team use high-throughput genomic technologies to better understand the genetic variations and molecular characterization of genes or DNA sequence variants associated with specific susceptibility to developing colon cancer.
Through these genetic discoveries, TGen is increasing the knowledge base about colon cancer. The information learned from genes such as AKT1, HOXA and others could one day yield new insights in the development of more effective strategies for early detection, prevention and treatment of colon cancer.
The mission of the Bernice E. Holland Foundation is to help find a cure for colon cancer. Each year the Bernice E. Holland Foundation hosts a range of events, including a VIP reception and golf tournament to promote awareness and raise funds for this important research.