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Spurs’ Tim Duncan makes major gift to landmark cancer research project
December 1, 2014

Spurs forward Tim Duncan, who opened Blackjack Speed Shop in January, has made a major contribution to help advance cancer research.

By W. Scott Bailey, San Antonio Business Journal

San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan, a sure bet to earn a permanent spot in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame once his hoops career is over, has donated $247,000 to the San Antonio 1000 Cancer Genome Project, a nonprofit project launched in 2012 by South Texas Accelerated Research Therapeutics (START).

The San Antonio 1000 Cancer Genome Project is supported by more than 200 surgeons, oncologists and cancer researchers from a broad spectrum of affiliations. Stakeholders believe the unprecedented collaboration will enable researchers to break through institutional barriers and help accelerate the development of new anticancer drugs through Phase I research. The project includes four clinic sites in three countries - the U.S., Spain and China.

START researchers are collecting fresh tumor tissue from 1,000 patients with the 10 most common cancers in San Antonio. They plan to link genetic information gained through project research to the patients' clinical outcomes.

Duncan, who lost his mother to cancer, made the contribution through his Tim Duncan Foundation and his non-basketball business - Blackjack Speed Shop. The three-time NBA Finals MVP said he wanted to assist the project "because the information collected will ultimately be shared."

START is one of the largest providers of Phase I testing and treatment for patients with advanced cancer. Dr. Anthony Tolcher, director of clinical research for START, founded the San Antonio 1000 Cancer Genome Project, and has said from the beginning the goal is for project participants to share the data they collect online with other researchers from across the world - at no cost.

"Bright minds within and beyond our city borders can analyze the data and make the necessary breakthroughs in cancer medicine," said Tolcher about the genome project.

"The idea that a group of cancer researchers were willing to set aside egos, to make the information freely available and work strictly for the greater good of curing cancer was exactly the type of cancer project I was willing to support," said Duncan in a statement.

Duncan launched Blackjack Speed Shop, a vehicle customization business, nearly a year ago. The shop is on Huebner, near the Spurs' practice facility.



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