Please note that some translations using Google Translate may not be accurately represented and downloaded documents cannot be translated. Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund assume no liability for inaccuracies that may result from using this third-party tool, which is for website translation.
Please note that some translations using Google Translate may not be accurately represented and downloaded documents cannot be translated. Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund assume no liability for inaccuracies that may result from using this third-party tool, which is for website translation.

Paving the way to cancer prevention

Emilia Fazzalari and Wyc Grousbeck

Summer 2024
By Amber Sinicrope
Photography by LILA PHOTO, Sam Ogden

Wycliffe “Wyc” Grousbeck and Emilia Fazzalari are firm believers that “good things don’t come easy.” As philanthropic and entrepreneurial leaders in the Boston community, they seek out innovative and exceptional people who are tackling groundbreaking endeavors that are simply too compelling to refuse.

This approach led them to make an extraordinary gift to help establish the Centers for Early Detection and Interception (CEDI) at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, which launched in December 2023. Their transformational support is empowering CEDI’s leadership—Irene Ghobrial, MD, director of the Center for Early Detection and Interception of Blood Cancers and Lavine Family Chair for Preventative Cancer Therapies at Dana-Farber; Betsy O’Donnell, MD, director of Early Detection and Prevention of Malignant Conditions; and Sapna Syngal, MD, MPH, director of research, Division of Cancer Genetics and Prevention and of Strategic Planning for Prevention and Early Cancer Detection—to guide a radical shift in the paradigm of cancer treatment through CEDI. This first-of-its-kind, integrated clinic brings together clinicians and researchers across cancer types to advance early detection of precancerous conditions, identify individuals at increased risk, and develop new and powerful interventions to stop cancer in its tracks.

“The key word is prevention. The ability to identify those at risk, understand one’s predispositions, and make lifestyle changes to avoid cancer is an ideal that is now within reach.”  

Emilia Fazzalari
From left: Centers for Early Detection and Interception (CEDI) leadership Betsy O’Donnell, MD; Sapna Syngal, MD, MPH; and Irene Ghobrial, MD.

The foundational investment from Grousbeck and Fazzalari ensures that Dana-Farber can build on its existing expertise in screening, risk assessment, and interception to deliver proactive care to more patients. Their support will enable CEDI to develop diagnostic strategies and advance cutting-edge technologies, expand biobanking resources, accelerate and enhance the use of vaccines and other immunotherapies, and ultimately create targeted patient monitoring plans that help prevent cancer from arising in individuals with increased risks. “The key word is prevention,” says Fazzalari, who is a co-founder and executive chairperson of Cincoro Tequila and serves on multiple boards in Boston and New York City. “The ability to identify those at risk, understand one’s predispositions, and make lifestyle changes to avoid cancer is an ideal that is now within reach. There is still a long way to go, but the result is so important and worth pursuing.”

Laurie H. Glimcher, MD, Dana-Farber president and CEO and the Richard and Susan Smith Professor of Medicine, believes this gift and CEDI have the potential to change the trajectory of cancer diagnoses for patients and families in Boston, New England, and around the world. “This visionary contribution to The Dana-Farber Campaign will shape the field of cancer medicine for the years and generations to come,” says Glimcher. “Their generosity is helping Dana-Farber meet a critical turning point in global cancer science: shifting from a reactive to proactive standard of care model that is personalized to meet individual needs.”

Looking to the future, Grousbeck, who is the managing partner, governor, and CEO of the 2024 NBA Championship-winning Boston Celtics, is optimistic about the path ahead. “Dana-Farber has their sights on an exciting goal that will save many lives and we have the utmost confidence in the team to take us there,” said Grousbeck. “The building blocks to cancer prevention and early detection are in place and we want to help pave the way for people to get there faster while ensuring everyone has equitable access.”

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