BOSTON (CBS) — This August, more than 6,000 riders will hit the road for the Pan-Mass Challenge. It’s a two-day bike ride across Massachusetts to raise money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. That money can mean real results–including groundbreaking new treatments being developed right here in Boston.
Dr. Matthew Davids sees these results firsthand. He is a six-year PMC rider, and says he was “instantly hooked.”
He sees the power of PMC fundraising, because he’s also a cancer doctor at Dana Farber.
“The funding from the PMC is really remarkable. A lot of the times the PMC funding is sort of the seed money,” he explained.
In Dr. Davids’ case, that seed money grew into a real drug now being used to save lives.
“Thousands of people have already benefited from it, and it’s likely that tens of thousands more will benefit from it in the future,” he said.
Dr. Davids and his research team at Dana Farber were instrumental in getting the drug venetoclax to cancer patients.
“With this particular drug, a lot of the science that went into developing it was actually right at Dana Farber,” he said.
He is now successfully treating his own patients with venetoclax, like one patient “who had no other good treatment options and now, over 2 years later, is in complete remission just on venetoclax alone,” Dr. Davids said. “It’s really remarkable.”
Patients he’s used to seeing in the exam room now help line the PMC route to cheer him on–cancer survivors like Kyle Bates.
“I think it’s pretty amazing. He’s a great guy. He helps in more ways than being my oncologist,” Bates told us.
Dr. Davids said he appreciates the support.
“Especially as a cancer researcher, to see all these people coming out to support the work that we do was so meaningful to me.”
PMC money donated to Dana Farber can give doctors the freedom to do research that other funding won’t cover.
“You can kind of take on some bold ideas and have new projects that are little bit risky, and sometimes that’s how we make big leaps forward in cancer research,” said Dr. Davids.
From the lab to the road, this doctor’s connection to the ride is deeply personal.
“To be able to play a role is really special, and to know that the PMC is there to provide the funding that we need, its really great that we can rely on this source of funding every year,” he said.
This year, PMC riders are looking to raise a record $48 million.
WBZ is proud to be the official PMC station. We hope you’ll join us for live coverage of PMC weekend starting with Opening Ceremonies Friday, August 4th at 7 p.m. live from Sturbridge.