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Strang

Cancer Prevention Institute

Dedicated to promoting cure by early detection and research to prevent cancer since 1933

Early detection is your best protection

Merle K. Barash MA AEd, MA Psya

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Merle K. Barash is Secretary on the Board of Trustees.

 

Merle has been dedicated to Strang for over 25 years. In 2009 together with Dr. Michael P. Osborne they co-founded Strang Institute and shared a vision to preserve Strang’s 91 year legacy as the nation's first institution for the early detection of cancer thus securing Strang’s future. They pioneered its continuance as a prominent not for profit institution ensuring its mission:

 

Dedicated to Promoting Cure by Early Detection and Research to Prevent Cancer since 1933, including Dissemination of Information to the Public, Educating Medical Professionals and Supporting Cancer Prevention Research.

 

Merle is a businessperson, visionary, and educator. She is the creator of Strang's website design and content giving Strang Institute a brand for the twenty-first century.

Today, the unprecedented Strang website attracts and navigates medical professionals and the public to a wealth of academic and scientific research and resources. In 2014 she created the Dianne Zola Ovarian Cancer Research Fund in honor of a dear friend. In 2016 Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore Maryland was chosen to be the first recipient of Strang’s funding for their research of the Papgene test for the early detection of ovarian cancer. In 2022 Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center New York was a recipient for funding research using a molecular Pap Smear for the early detection of Ovarian Cancer. 

 

Merle is Editor in Chief of Strang's PREVENTION newsletter educating primary care physicians and the general public on cancer screening and prevention.  She is the liaison to Strang supporters and donors. 

DIANNE ZOLA OVARIAN CANCER RESEARCH FUND

Ovarian cancer, it is estimated, affects 22,200 women. In the United States there are 14,000 women who die each year. Ovarian cancer is the fifth most frequent cause of cancer deaths in women. Over 50% of women who develop ovarian cancer are over the age of 65.

The most important risk factor is having a close relative (mother, sister and daughter) diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Approximately 5% to 10% of ovarian cancers are familial and three distinct hereditary patterns have been identified: ovarian cancer alone, ovarian and breast cancers, or ovarian and colon cancers.

 

There is no known way of reducing the risk other than having the ovaries removed in women with a mutation in the BRCA 1 and 2 genes or with a strong family history (multiple relatives) of breast and or ovarian cancer after age 35 when child-bearing is complete.

 

Currently there are no screening tests for ovarian cancer that have been shown to be effective in early detection of the disease. However, recent research has shown that 40% of ovarian cancers can be detected earlier by using special studies on the PAP test such as screening DNA.

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On November 8, 2022, Michael P. Osborne, MD., President of Strang Cancer Prevention Institute and Merle K. Barash, Secretary on the Board of Trustees presented a check to Luis A. Diaz, MD at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center New York, NY for his research using a molecular pap smear for the early detection of Ovarian Cancer in the name of the Dianne Zola Ovarian Cancer Research Fund at Strang.

Merle K. Barash, Dr. Diaz, Dr. Osborne

On April 26, 2016, Merle K. Barash, Strang Trustee, and Dr. Michael Osborne, President of Strang, presented a check to Dr. Luis Diaz at John's Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore Maryland for his research using the PapGene test for the early detection of Ovarian Cancer in the name of the Dianne Zola Ovarian Cancer Research Fund at Strang.

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Merle K. Barash, Dr. Diaz, Dr. Osborne

The Dianne Zola Ovarian Cancer Research Fund will help support this approach to early detection.

 

For further information contact Merle K. Barash at mbarash@strang.org.

Research Supported

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

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Strang Cancer Prevention Institute is funding research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to develop a “molecular pap smear” that is able to diagnose early stage ovarian and endometrial cancer based on genetic markers. Dr. Luis Diaz Jr. believes that in the future it may be possible to diagnose ovarian and endometrial cancer at an early stage which is currently not possible.
 

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Johns Hopkins Medicine

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Strang Cancer Prevention Institute is funding research at Johns Hopkins Hospital evaluating the use of the Pap test to detect genetic mutations for the early detection of ovarian cancer.

Johns Hopkins Scientists Use Pap Test Fluid To Detect Ovarian, Endometrial Cancers

Mission

Dedicated to Promote Cure by Early Detection and Research to Prevent Cancer since 1933 including Dissemination of Information to the Public, Educating Medical Professionals and Supporting Cancer Prevention Research.

Strang, synonymous with cancer prevention, is the longest continuously operating cancer prevention institution in the world. Millions of lives worldwide have been saved from cancer through Strang’s development of the PAP test. Today, in the United States, the death rate of cervical cancer has declined to an all time low. Strang has been a leader in cancer prevention and the clinical implementation of early detection. Strang pioneered the development of endoscopy for early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer. Strang’s clinical and laboratory research, for close to eighty years, has significantly contributed to our knowledge of carcinogenesis, prevention and early detection.

History

Strang was founded in 1933 as the Kate Depew Strang Clinic at the New York Infirmary on 15th Street by Dr. Elise Strang L’Esperance and opened by first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. It was funded by her uncle New York Central Railroad magnate and US senator Chauncey Depew. It was staffed by female physicians.

 

In the 1920’s Dr. L’Esperance began her career working with Dr. James Ewing the world renowned cancer pathologist at Memorial Hospital for Cancer and Allied diseases in Manhattan. She then became the first woman graduate from the Department of Pathology at Cornell University Medical College.

 

She collaborated with Drs. George Papanicolaou, a medical scientist at Cornell University who was researching changes in uterine cervix cells in the belief that they could detect early cervical cancer, and Dr. May Edward Chinn who studied cytological methods for cancer detection at its earliest stages. The gynecologists during that period did not believe it possible. This breakthrough resulted in the Pap test; in 1940 Strang was the first medical facility to introduce this test into clinical practice. The Pap test for early detection of cervical cancer continues to save millions of women’s lives worldwide.

 

Dr. L’Esperance became Professor of Preventive Medicine at Cornell University Medical College. She was recognized for her pioneering work by being awarded the first Lasker Prize in Medicine.

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 Elise Strang L’Esperance MD

In 1933 Eleanor Roosevelt (right) accompanied by Miss May Strang (left)  opened the Kate Depew Strang Clinic.

In 1933, Eleanor Roosevelt (right) accompanied by Miss May Strang (left) opened the Kate Depew Strang Clinic

Kate Depew Strang Clinic

Strang Clinic 1933

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Honoring Dr. May Edward Chinn at the Street Co Naming ceremony on September 28, 2022, Manhattan New York. Strang President Dr. Michael P. Osborne and Strang Secretary on the Board of Trustees Merle K. Barash were guests at the event.

Historical Timeline                            91 years of excellence

1933

The Kate Depew Strang Clinic founded by Dr. Elise Strang L’Esperance and opened by first lady Eleanor Roosevelt at the New York Infirmary, is the first clinic for the early detection of cancer.​

1937

First cancer prevention program established at the Kate Depew Strang Clinic.​

1940

First medical facility to introduce Dr. George Papanicolaou’s Pap test.​

1950

First in U.S. to use sigmoidoscopy for early detection of colon cancer.​

1951

Dr. L’Esperance receives the prestigious Lasker Award for Medical Research.​

1962

Strang Director Dr. Emerson Day coauthors the first medical textbook for early detection of cancer.​

1969

The risk-factor analysis concept in cancer screening is first introduced at Strang.​

1970

RCA and Strang design a computer system to support algorithmic risk factor analysis and a patient’s medical record.​

1973

Strang pioneers the training of paramedical personnel to conduct cancer detection examinations based on Strang’s CanScreen™ Program.

1974

With collaborating institutions, Strang is first to conduct a controlled trial of sputum cytology for early detection of lung cancer.

1975

With collaborating institutions, Strang introduces the stool slide test for detection of colon cancer.​

1981

First in U.S. to study trans-rectal sonography for the detection of prostate cancer.

1983

First to demonstrate a DNA-repair deficiency in colon cancer patients and their families.

1987

Specialized breast surveillance program initiated that provides screening, counseling, and research for women with genetic risk factors.

1989

The first National High-risk Registry for women with strong family histories of breast cancer established.​

1990

Affiliates with the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.

1991

Strang Cancer Research Laboratory opens.

1992

Strang-Cornell Breast Center opens.

1993

Strang Research Computing Group is established.

1994

International Conference for Cancer Prevention is established.

1995

Strang Cancer Research Laboratory is relocated to the campus of The Rockefeller University.

1996

Anne Fisher Nutrition Center opened.

1996

Strang Research Computing Group wins Microsoft Healthcare Industry award.

1997

James E. Olson Colon Cancer Detection Center opened.

1997

Strang Research Computing Group, nominated by Bill Gates, receives a Computerworld Smithsonian Award.

1998

Strang Research Computing Group's Genetics Outreach Program Version 2.0 is inducted into the Smithsonian Institution for contributions to technology and society.

1999

Strang leads multicenter trial for colon polyp prevention.

2000

The Strang Cancer Biology Laboratory established at The Rockefeller University.

2004

Strang scientist describes structure of the functional part of the BRCA 1 gene and is featured on the front cover of the journal Cancer Research.

2005

Classification of BRCA gene mutations.

2006

Bone marrow micrometastasis shown to be the strongest predictor of 5-year survival in breast cancer.

2008

Diet alone for the first time shown to cause colon tumors in an experimental model.

2009

Breast cancer cells inhibited by an extract from the Taheebo tree.

2009

Strang Cancer Prevention Institute is established as an independent non-profit entity and continues to fund research to prevent cancer and promote cure through early detection.

2014

The Dianne Zola Ovarian Cancer Research Fund established by Strang Trustee

Merle K. Barash MA AEd, MA Psya.

2015

Tribute to Mitchell L. Gaynor, MD; Pioneer of Integrative Oncology and former Strang Director of Medical Oncology.​

2016

Completion of randomized trial to improve primary care physicians’ cancer screening recommendations and communication with patients.

2019

Study of educating primary care physicians on cancer screening and prevention using PREVENTION e-newsletters, 2019 to present.

2022

Honoring Dr. May Edward Chinn at a Street Co Naming Ceremony in New York City, a pioneer who studied cytological methods for cancer detection at its earliest stages and a collaborator in developing the Pap Test at Strang.

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