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

10 years ago today.

Today TargetCancer Foundation remembers our founder, Paul Poth, whose life was taken by cholangiocarcinoma at age 39 on this day ten years ago- August 22, 2009.

As with every patient, Paul’s life was so much more than his diagnosis and illness. He was a husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend who lived his life with passion and compassion. When he learned of his diagnosis, he put his energy and passion to work by creating TargetCancer Foundation to remove the barriers to research and treatments for rare cancers like his.

After ten years we have seen great progress, and there is great hope. This hope is moving TargetCancer Foundation into a new and exciting chapter that will help to change the experience of a rare cancer diagnosis for future patients. But today, we step back to celebrate his life, his humor, his great mind, and his devotion to helping others that continues to inspire and guide our work every day.

Teeing off for TargetCancer Foundation

By TargetCancer Foundation 2019 Summer Intern Ollie Cheever

The fifth annual Matt Lindsay Memorial Golf Tournament tees off this Saturday, August 3rd, at the Awarii Dunes Golf Course in Axtell, Nebraska. Matthew Lindsay passed away in 2014 at the age of 28 from cholangiocarcinoma, also known as bile duct cancer. Ever since, the Lindsay family has been commemorating his memory with the annual tournament, with funds directed to cholangiocarcinoma research through TargetCancer Foundation.

Continue reading

A holiday reflection

By Alie Plouff, TargetCancer Foundation Advocacy Council Member

Like many things in life, grief isn’t black and white. In fact, it is mostly one large gray area. Grief and how it manifests itself is different for everyone. For me, grief comes in waves. I lost my mom, Kathy, in April 2017 to cholangiocarcinoma,  a rare and aggressive cancer of the bile duct. Most days, I am able to navigate my grief by reflecting on the abundance of fond memories I shared with my mom. Sometimes, though, the waters are rough. The feeling of loss is overwhelming, and I wish so badly that I had more time to spend with her. Continue reading

2018 NORD Summit: An Advocate’s Perspective

By Leslie Condon, TargetCancer Foundation Advocacy Council Chair

The National Organization for Rare Disorders was formed after a small coalition of rare disease patients came together in the late 1970’s and became a driving force that helped establish the 1983 Orphan Drug Act. Since then, the number of NORD patient organization members has grown to 280, including twenty-one rare cancer organizations in NORD’s Rare Cancer Coalition. Within NORD’s thirty-five year history, the organization established the first patient assistant program, and helped advocate and legislate for new laws, including the Rare Diseases Act in 2002 and the FDA Safety and Innovation Act in 2006. Continue reading

Team TargetCancer Foundation returns to the 2019 Boston Marathon!

We are happy to announce that Team TargetCancer Foundation will be making its fifth appearance in the Boston Marathon in 2019! We are excited to return to this historic race once again, and we are so pleased to announce the runners who have been selected as members of our team: Brendan Carey, Jenny Ross, and DJ Webster. These three individuals are incredibly passionate and driven- you can read their stories and support their efforts here:

See you at the finish line on April 15, 2019!



Facebook Fundraisers

Did you know that Facebook makes it incredibly easy to engage your community to raise funds for TargetCancer Foundation? You can create a fundraiser to celebrate your birthday, anniversary, or for no other reason than to support rare cancer research and patient support!

Rally your community through these few easy steps.

1. Go to

2. Click the Raise Money button, and then Get Started.

3. Set a fundraising goal, and an end date for your fundraiser. In our experience, 1-2 weeks is an ideal timeframe.

4. Name your event.

5. Describe why you’re raising money. Here is some sample language, but please be sure to personalize!

Please help me support TargetCancer Foundation’s work to make a difference in the rare cancer community through a donation to my fundraiser [in honor of [your event/connection to TargetCancer Foundation]. Over the past nine years, TargetCancer Foundation has been at the forefront of driving research in rare cancers such as cholangiocarcinoma and esophageal cancer, and is now also working to empower current patients through a range of patient-focused initiatives. [Add personal note!]

6. Choose a photo. You can use the TargetCancer Foundation logo, or choose a photo of your own.

That’s it! After that you can share your fundraiser, and we’ll be sure to do the same.

A new patient partnered initiative launches.

We are tremendously proud to announce the launch of the Gastroesophageal Cancer Project, a new, innovative patient partnered research initiative.

The Gastroesophageal Cancer Project empowers patients with esophageal, gastric and stomach cancers to directly participate in research by crowdsourcing genomic data, which could otherwise take years and considerable expense to generate, especially in rare cancers. This data is made publicly available for free on the project website, as quickly as possible. This eliminates a major barrier to entry for researchers, providing an immediate spark across the worldwide community to accelerate research into difficult to treat gastroesophageal cancers.

In July 2017, TargetCancer Foundation formally partnered with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard on the development of the Gastroesophageal Cancer Project, the newest in a series of similarly designed projects in various cancer types.

As Lead Project Engagement Partner, TargetCancer Foundation created and worked closely with a Project Advisory Council comprised of current patients. This group guided every element of the design of this project from its earliest stages through beta testing, and their critical work continues well beyond the project’s launch. In addition, we coordinated a group of advocacy organization partners who will play an essential role in communicating the project to their respective communities.

After over a year of planning and development, the Gastroesophageal Cancer Project is live and enrolling new patient participants.

How does The Gastroesophageal Cancer Project work? 


The Gastroesophageal Cancer Project takes an innovative approach to cancer research by directly partnering researchers with patients facing esophageal, gastric, and stomach cancers. After completing an online survey and consent, patients receive a kit by mail that allows them to provide saliva and blood samples. In addition, the project team contacts the patient’s doctor to obtain tumor tissue samples and medical records. Once all of those materials are received at the Broad Institute, comprehensive genomic analysis is performed on the samples, with the goal of making the generated data publicly available at no cost.

How can I learn more? 

You can visit the website, and also follow the project on Facebook and Twitter to get real time updates on participation and data releases. If you know of someone facing esophageal, gastric or stomach cancer, please let them know about this opportunity to directly contribute to research.

ASCO 2018: An Advocate’s Perspective

By TargetCancer Foundation Advocacy Council Chair Leslie Condon

When I walked into McCormick Place on the first day of this year’s annual ASCO Conference, I was instantly swept into the sea of oncologists, researchers, pharma reps, and others from the medical field who had also descended upon the city for the weekend. Prior to attending the ASCO Conference as a first-time recipient of one of their Patient Advocate Travel Scholarships, I was told how overwhelming the event could be. Thankfully, my extensive prepping (and fascination with the ASCO i-Planner app) allowed me to quickly orient myself within the maelstrom and navigate to my first session, “Talking With Patients About Risk and Uncertainty.” It was one of the many patient-focused sessions being offered at ASCO during the conference, and one of two tracks that I had chosen to follow during my time there. Continue reading

Always remember you should be heard: A journey from caregiver, to patient, to advocate

By Guest Blogger Dana Deighton

Though my 25 years of professional experiences are mostly rooted in marketing, the last 15 years or so of my personal life have been defined in large part by cancer. I’ve experienced many facets: a caregiver, an advocate, and an unsuspecting patient.  Like most people, I learned there is no practice for cancer and there also are no do-overs.  It’s 24/7 on the job training with little time for research and even less for life altering decisions.  That is why I am so compelled to help create new dialogues between medical professionals, researchers, pharma, patients, and caregivers.  One doesn’t know what the other doesn’t share, which is what makes this an evolving opportunity—one that can only result in a win for patient outcomes. Continue reading