Supporting Signet Ring Research at University Hospitals

Signet Ring Colon Cancer Group - UH Seidman Cancer Center
Pictured left to right: Kishore Guda, PhD, Ted Teknos, MD, Director, UH Seidman Cancer Center, Sanford Markowitz, MD, PhD, Joseph Willis MD, Vinay Varadan, PhD.

Joseph Willis, MD, Vice Chairman of Pathology for Translational Research at UH Cleveland Medical Center, ran the virtual Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon on May 16 to raise support for the Signet Ring Colon Cancer Research Group at UH Seidman Cancer Center. Dr. Willis is leading the research group along with experts from UH Seidman Cancer Center and the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University assembling the first-ever comprehensive archive of samples of signet ring colon cancer, with an eye toward elucidating the molecular biology and genomics of this rare but deadly cancer.

When this group was formed, generous donors from around the country supported this research by honoring loved ones who passed away from this deadly disease, including the family and friends of Alla Bogomolnaya, a patient at UH Seidman Cancer Center. Through the work of these committed advocates, nearly $550,000 has been raised thus far to support the research team’s efforts.

In addition to creating the signet ring colon cancer sample archive, the team is also working on a series of experiments to identify the genes that drive this lethal cancer, with the aim of ultimately designing new therapies to treat the disease and new ways to detect the disease early. “These studies will potentially allow us to identify nuanced aspects of the biology of signet ring cancers of the colon, which could be used to explore for treatment options that are not currently understood,” Dr. Willis says.

Ultimately, Dr. Willis says, the research group hopes its findings won’t be limited just to colon cancer. “We recognize that if something were identified in signet ring colon cancer, we could determine whether the same features are potentially present in signet ring cancers of other organs,” he says.

For more information on how you can support the Signet Ring Colon Cancer Research Group at UH Seidman Cancer Center, please contact Leslie Piovesan at or make a gift online today.

Make a Gift