Promising Treatment Potential For New Subset Of Cholangiocarcinoma Patients with FGFR2 Fusions

An exciting paper was recently published in Cancer Discovery highlighting the promise of the recently FDA approved FGFR inhibitor drugs for an even broader population of cholangiocarcinoma patients with FGFR2 fusions. The Evan Schumacher Fund for Rare Cancer Research at TargetCancer Foundation directly supported Dr. James Cleary’s work at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute leading to these important developments. His work was also informed by TCF’s longstanding commitment to cell line creation for cholangiocarcinoma, beginning over a decade ago in Dr. Nabeel Bardeesy’s lab at Massachusetts General Hospital. It is tremendously meaningful to see the impacts of TCF’s initial commitment to cholangiocarcinoma research on the progress being made today. We are so proud to be a part of this work and congratulate Dr. Cleary on this important publication.

Click below to watch a short video published by Dana-Farber of Dr. Cleary summarizing the paper.

The Importance to Rare Cancer Patients of Integrating Treating Physicians Into TCF-001 TRACK’s VMTB meetings






The rapid progress made over the last decade in bringing comprehensive genomic profiling to rare cancer patients has created the opportunity to significantly expand the treatment options available to them. However, many physicians, especially in the community setting, have not had the opportunity or training to effectively interpret and relay the results of comprehensive genomic profiling for their patients.

One of TRACK’s distinctive features, its Virtual Molecular Tumor Board (VMTB), becomes especially relevant in this scenario. TRACK’s VMTB is comprised of a multi-disciplinary team of clinicians and scientists focused on rare cancers. In addition to their specialties, these doctors also have expertise in the field of genomics and precision medicine, specifically in next generation sequencing, which TRACK utilizes.

However, these experts do not have the extensive personal knowledge of the enrolled patients that their treating physician has. This is why the integration of a patient’s physician into the VMTB meetings is a key component of TRACK. The treating physician is able to provide important practical insight on a patient’s medical history – such as an underlying health condition, an aversion to certain medication, or a personal barrier that would preclude them from participating in a specific clinical trial. When attending a VMTB meeting, the treating physician is also able to ask specific questions about the comprehensive genomic profiling results as well as the advantages and challenges of therapies that are being recommended or avoided. This dialogue is key to providing the best recommendations possible for the patient.

Click here to watch a short clip of TRACK Lead Principal Investigator Razelle Kurzrock, MD discuss this topic in further detail.


Utilizing Technology To Benefit Rare Cancer Patients Nationwide- TCF-001 TRACK’s Virtual Molecular Tumor Board


The TRACK Study incorporates many features that make it unique and especially significant for rare cancer patients. One of these features is the Virtual Molecular Tumor Board (VMTB). The TRACK VMTB unites a ‘braintrust’ of medical oncologists, surgeons, pathologists, genetic counselors, and others- all who specialize in rare cancers and are experts in reading and interpreting the comprehensive genomic profiling reports that a TRACK patient receives. The group reviews each patient’s case for an in-depth discussion of their medical history and individual molecular profile in order to offer recommendations for on-label, off-label, or clinical trial treatments for these extremely difficult to treat cancers.

Having access to the VMTB virtually gives patients anywhere in the country the ability to have this high caliber of physicians and experts in rare tumors review their case, which is especially important for patients who are being treated in the community and not at academic medical centers. This innovative feature of the TRACK Study has been especially impactful during the COVID-19 pandemic, but is a critical component of the study’s design for all participating patients.

Watch a short video of TRACK Principal Investigator Dr. Roman Groisberg discuss this in more detail.

Grief- You’re Back Again?

Written by Kristen Palma, TargetCancer Foundation President.

Here is what I have learned about grief after having to cope with it for eleven years.  It is like that old t-shirt in the back of your drawer that pops up every year when you are doing your spring cleaning. You forgot it was there but it shows up each season and for some reason you decide to keep it- never ready to let it go. But you never wear it either. Continue reading

Rare Cancer Research During COVID-19

By TCF research grant recipients Nabeel Bardeesy, PhD, of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center,  and Adam Bass, MD of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Since 2010, TargetCancer Foundation has supported Dr. Bardeesy’s work in cholangiocarcinoma, and Dr. Bass’ work in gastroesophageal cancer Continue reading

My Story of Grief: Experiencing the loss of a loved one during COVID-19

By Kimberley Balkus, TCF volunteer and advocate

2,403 days.

The number of days that my mom, Geri Keegan, lived with cholangiocarcinoma. She was given one year to live and every additional day we had with her was an absolute blessing. Continue reading

In Julienne’s Footsteps: Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to Honor a Life

By guest writer Karen Dempsey

The bonds that Julienne Morriss Callaway forged and the values she embraced in life have been instrumental in sustaining her family in the aftermath of her death from cholangiocarcinoma. Continue reading

An Insider’s Perspective

Dr. Monika Laszkowska, a gastroenterology fellow, next to the poster she presented at the 2019 TargetCancer Foundation Think Tank on Advancing Gastroesophageal Cancer Research. She shares her reflections on her experience at the meeting below. Continue reading

2019 Cholangiocarcinoma Research Grant Announcement

TargetCancer Foundation is proud to announce a new two-year, $240,000 grant to the Bardeesy Lab at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center brings our overall investment in cholangiocarcinoma research to over $1 million since 2011. 

Continue reading

Building the tools of cholangiocarcinoma research- a researcher’s reflection.

In December 2019, TargetCancer Foundation announced $240,000 in new cholangiocarcinoma grant funding. The following post was written by Grant Recipient Nabeel Bardeesy. 

I would like to congratulate TargetCancer Foundation for its outstanding contribution to research in rare and under-studied cancers over the past 10 years. My laboratory at the Massachusetts General Hospital has been a long-time partner of TCF, and their support has been essential in enabling work at MGH and beyond to expand research in cancers of the bile ducts (cholangiocarcinoma). TCF fulfills an important gap in research funding—providing venture capital toward areas that have been neglected and fall out of the domain of more conservative funding sources. This is crucial for rare cancers. Continue reading