From “Idea Grants” for scientists to statewide networks studying specific cancers, Pelotonia donations have been used since 2009 to fund research projects that otherwise might have sat on shelves gathering dust.As some 8,000 riders prepare for the ninth annual cycling fundraiser being held in central Ohio this weekend, Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center this week announced its latest round of Idea Grants, which will fund research into bladder, brain, breast, ovarian and thyroid cancers, as well as a form of leukemia.The eight grants are among more than 100 Idea Grants, totaling $11.6 million, awarded since Pelotonia started eight years ago. Each provides funding for two years.The awards go to projects that might not yet be advanced enough to receive grants from other sources, such as the federal government, said Miguel Perez, Pelotonia’s vice president of mission and brand.“What’s so exciting is that we are getting the ability to fund high-risk, high-reward research right here,” Perez said. “We are so willing to take these ideas. They have tons of merit, and they may be the next big breakthrough, the next thing bringing us forward.”
From its inception until last year, Pelotonia raised more than $130 million for research efforts at the cancer center, which includes the James Cancer Hospital and the Solove Research Center as well as other hospitals. The funds have all been spent or allocated, Perez said, and this year’s goal is to raise a record $25.5 million.Along with Idea Grants, some Pelotonia funding has gone to statewide cancer research initiatives aimed at taking advanced clinical care and research to remote areas of the state.Among them is the Ohio Colorectal Cancer Prevention Initiative, which linked more than 50 hospitals to research the disease. Similar statewide initiatives have been established to study lung and endometrial cancers, projects that will be fully operational this year.
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