05/01/2017

Cancer Research as a Family Mission

For Dr. Isla Garraway, MD, PhD, science runs in her blood. Some of her earliest memories were created in her father’s botany lab at Ohio State University, where Michael Garraway inspired young Isla and her brother Levi by turning science into a first-hand experience.  It sparked an interest for both siblings to pursue their own scientific careers.

In 1994, Michael was diagnosed with an advanced form of prostate cancer, and after years of fighting, succumbed to the disease. At the time of her father’s diagnosis, Dr. Garraway had been pursuing her PhD, and once learning of his illness, she refocused her career on prostate cancer research and treatment.

Though her father lost his fight, Dr. Garraway went on to become a Urologist at UCLA and the Greater Los Angeles-VA Medical Research Center, as well as the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC). Today, she conducts important research into methods of isolating specific stem cells in the prostate, to test their role in regenerating damaged prostate cells. She also regularly advises her patients on the importance of annual screenings to improve early detection and treatment.

Describing her research, Dr. Garraway says, “By targeting stem cells within the prostate, more durable new therapies for men with advanced or recurrent prostate cancer may be possible.”

Together with her brother Levi, now at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the pair have advanced research into analyzing the prostate cancer genome, which may identify new genetic factors and their role in this illness.

Both Isla Garraway and Levi Garraway are funded by the Prostate Cancer Foundation, and they continue to devote their careers to raising awareness of the disease, while working to develop treatments. The memory of their father drives this commitment, and it shows in their passion for reducing suffering by promoting early testing, while researching the eventual cure.

Every dollar raised by the Many vs Cancer community goes directly to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, which supports the Garraway siblings and more than 1,000 other scientists around the world. Together, we are making sure they have the resources they need to continue develop new treatments that will help us defeat prostate cancer once and for all.