Breast cancer pioneer
Prouty cyclist supports own work on cancer research
Dartmouth College scientist and professor Jack Hoopes is seen with his daughter, Mollie, at The Prouty cycling event in 2009. This year, the two plan to bike the 200 miles that make up The Prouty Ultimate. (COURTESY)
Begun in 1982 as a 100-mile bike ride by a group of nurses at Dartmouth-Hitchcock's Norris Cotton Cancer Center in honor of longtime patient Audrey Prouty, the fundraiser now includes walking, rowing and golf activities, as well as cycling, with thousands of people generating an average of around $2.7 million a year.
And he's one of its most dedicated participants.
In the early years, daughter Mollie was a passenger, riding in a baby carrier while her parents - Jack and his wife, Vicki Scheidt, a Hanover veterinarian - did the peddling. These days, Mollie, now 19, peddles along with Dad in the Ultimate, an endurance test she first passed five years ago.
A study is born
When the National Science Foundation formally recognized nanotechnology as a new field of research into cancer treatment, the National Health Institute made a handful of large grants available for such research. Excited about the concept, Jack Hoopes and a team of about 25 biologists, physicians, engineers and graduate students launched a study. But because the team lacked experience in nanotechnology, Hoopes said, the National Health Institute grants went elsewhere.
So, in those early years, the research was bolstered by a few small grants, including one from the Friends of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center.
And that support was made possible by The Prouty.
Hoopes studied veterinary medicine at Oklahoma State University. He enjoyed the research aspect of veterinary work so much, he decided to pursue a Ph.D. in radiology at the University of Colorado. It was there that he first worked on cancer research, and that prompted him to pursue another Ph.D., in radiation oncology at Duke University.
Hoopes' work focuses on injecting mice with human breast cancer cells then treating them through nanotechnology. He and his team create antibodies containing nanoparticles of iron oxide and inject those into the mice to attack the cancer cells. Next, each mouse is placed in a non-toxic magnetic field, which is then activated. The magnetic field activates the iron oxide particles, which heat and destroy the cancer cells, Hoopes explained.
And that, he added, is very exciting.
Kick start for the ride