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Follow the money: Where your research dollars go after you donate to Roswell Park

Posted at 5:09 AM, Sep 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-05 07:41:34-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — With countless fundraising events throughout the year Western New Yorkers donated 26 million dollars to Roswell Park Comprehensive Research Center just last year.

You hear it all the time, the money goes to cancer research... but what does that mean and what role does Roswell play?

First you hand over your money at the event, whether that's cash or a digital donation.
From there the cash goes into the Roswell Alliance Fund where Doctors can apply for grants for seed money to start their research projects.

7 Eyeywitness New Reporter Rebecca Thornburg spoke with Dr. Dominic Smiraglia who has been working on Prostate Cancer Research for 10 years. He initially received a grant from the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation of $50,000 to kick off his master plan of how to defeat prostate cancer cells.

Dr. Smiraglia and his team of researchers has been working to figure out how to kill cancer cells without hurting healthy cells. His research is focused on targeting the metabolism of the cancer cells so when they reproduce, they will not survive.

"The money coming in from the charitable organizations are kinda the life line to a lot of these ideas," Dr.Smiraglia said.

In Dr. Smirgalia's master plan, he had research to back up why he believes his method for fighting cancer could lead to a cure. He was then able to submit that plan to the National Cancer Institute where doctors received upwards of $1.5 million dollars to really start testing out their first findings within a 5 year span.

"We have to get down to some basic experiments and those experiments cost money," Smiraglia said. The next step for Smiraglia's research is to enter clinical trials and then in a few more years, his research could be turned into cancer fighting drugs that could make its way back to Roswell to help treat patients.