Thursday, March 10, 2011

Advanced Colon Cancer at age 21 - Not your Average College Experience

Listen to the most recent "Cancer Bytes" where Nathan tells his story of being diagnosed with colon cancer at age 21.

Click on the above blue link to listen to Nathan's story. Read more!

The Hope Chest Receives Donation to Support Genetic Research

Nathan Shatsoff presents Ellen Matloff, MS, Director of the Yale Cancer Center Cancer Genetic Counseling Program, with a $4,000 check to support The Hope Chest fund. Click on the above blue link for the full story.

Nathan Shatsoff was a healthy, athletic college student who was enjoying life. He got a bad cold and cracked a rib from coughing. He became concerned when the ache in his side didn’t go away, and went to a local doctor for a check up. Nathan, his doctor, and his entire family were beyond shocked when he was diagnosed at the age of 21 with stage IV colon cancer. He described the diagnosis as being very lonely, as this disease is mostly reserved for people much later in life. Two years after his diagnosis, Nathan is approaching his 50th treatment with chemotherapy. Nathan has the most advanced case of colon cancer any doctor he has been to has seen in such a young person. However, his prognosis and treatments have not stopped him from fighting against cancer for himself, his family, and future patients.

Nathan’s diagnosis led his family to delve into their family’s history and they learned of an extensive history of colon cancer and pre-cancerous colon polyps at young ages. This led to the realization that this pattern was likely hereditary. Nathan’s sister contacted Ellen Matloff, MS, Director of the Cancer Genetic Counseling Program at Yale Cancer Center and set up a meeting to discuss this possibility. Ms. Matloff has collected DNA samples from multiple generations of the family and Dr. Allen Bale, Professor of Genetics, is analyzing these samples with the latest technologies in search of the mutation causing these cancers.

Nathan is also hard at work. With the support of his family, Nathan founded the organization RELENTLESS Against Cancer, a federally recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation dedicated to raising money to donate to specific hospitals and practices working to develop new treatments as well as early detection methods.

“The fight against cancer is something that must be renewed each and every day,” said Nathan. “Every day you wake up is a chance to make a difference. While the ultimate goal cannot be accomplished in one day, every day we are closer to making it a reality. Our efforts must be tireless, they must be RELENTLESS, and this is the reason I started this organization, for my family and future patients.”

Recently, Nathan donated the proceeds from a fundraiser to The Hope Chest fund at Yale Cancer Center. The Hope Chest fund was created to ensure that genetic counseling, and the hope of early detection, risk reduction, prevention, and cutting-edge research, will be passed on to the next generation. Nathan and his family hope to make people understand that not everyone diagnosed with cancer will either undergo surgery or a few months of treatment and either be cured or pass away from the disease.

“My ultimate goal is to help in any way I can with cancer research so one day no one will ever have to endure what I have,” Nathan said.

To learn more about RELENTLESS Against Cancer, or to find out how you can donate, please visit

Read more!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dr. Spencer Well to Present at the Garde Arts Center in New London, CT

Dr. Spencer Wells, director of National Geographic’s Genographic Project, is presenting at the Garde Arts Center in New London on Friday, March 11 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the “Faces of Our Planet” series. Dr. Wells’ pioneering research in genetics and human diversity is sure to interest you and Yale University Genetics students. The student rate is only $10 and more details can be found on the event website (click on the above light blue link to be redirected).

The Genographic Project uses DNA from participants around the world to document and create the first-ever map of human migration, showing how humans came to populate the planet after leaving Africa some 60,000 years ago. The project demonstrates that -- in all of our diversity -- our shared DNA makes us truly connected.

Dr. Wells has been a guest on The Daily Show and TODAY, and has also been a presenter at a renowned TED Conference. Read more!