Cancer Survivor

When Andrew Davis transferred to Miami to accept the position as chief human resources and inclusion officer at Lennar, he knew that he would be joining a team that builds communities for home buyers. He never imagined that this team would also build him up for one of the greatest physical challenges of his life.

An original corporate sponsor of the DCC, Lennar’s participation is ingrained in the company culture. As a cancer survivor himself, who is passionate about educating the African American community about the importance of early detection for prostate cancer, Andrew knew right away that he would participate in the annual event.

During a kickoff luncheon, when Andrew shared his cancer survivorship story and intention to sign up for a 35-mile ride, Lennar’s Executive Chairman Stuart Miller cleverly intervened to push him further. In front of the entire company, Andrew committed to a grueling 100-mile ride, and set off on a journey that would teach him the true meaning of hope and community.

After my century ride, the DCC will always be part of who I am.

Watch Andrew share his story.

The impact of the DCC dollars at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center is bringing hope to cancer patients in our community by increasing the number of Phase 1 clinical trials we have to offer.

Jaime Merchan, M.D., MMSc
Associate Professor of Medicine
Director, Phase I Clinical Trials Program
Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Dcc Impact

Before a new cancer treatment can be approved and become part of standard treatment, it must go through three different levels of evaluation called phases. The goal of Phase 1 clinical trials is to determine the safety, early evidence, and efficacy of new treatments in patients with cancer.

Over the last five years, the Phase 1 clinical trial program at Sylvester has had significant achievements and experienced rapid growth, attracting top researchers from around the nation and transforming the program into the largest in the state of Florida.

Clinical trials are no longer the last recourse for patients with advanced cancers. New biological therapies being developed are moving quickly through the cycle, from first-in-human studies like Phase 1 to Phases 2 and 3, and on to FDA approvals.

Sylvester is among the most important cancer centers in the country, leading Phase 1 research in oncolytic viruses, viral agents that are designed to specifically target cancer cells more than tumor cells. These oncolytic viruses attack and destroy the cancer cells while stimulating the immune system to fight back.

Dr. Merchan and his team have directed many other studies in various site disease groups that have introduced novel vaccines, combination therapies, and immunotherapies, which are providing patients with positive anti-tumor clinical responses, increased life expectancy, and better quality of life.

Dr. Merchan and his team also have multiple lines of research for prostate cancer, from early detection and treatment to identifying patients who are at higher risk of recurrence after surgery, to provide them with better treatment options. Most importantly, Sylvester has developed a large portfolio of clinical studies for patients who have metastatic prostate cancer that has resisted standard therapies.

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