The Chordoma Foundation’s Executive Director, Josh Sommer, has been named one of Forbes’ “30 individuals under 30″ who are transforming science and healthcare. Josh, who is already featured on the Forbes website, will also appear in the January 2013 print edition of the Forbes magazine that will be released next week.
“Josh is a courageous young man who refused to accept a bad hand lying down. He exemplifies the spirit of Forbes’ 30 Under 30,” said Forbes Executive Editor, Michael Noer.
While a freshman at Duke University, Josh Sommer was diagnosed with chordoma, a rare bone cancer that has a 30% cure rate, no approved drugs, little research and an average survival period of seven years. Not wanting to accept those statistics, Sommer joined the only federally-funded chordoma research lab (located at Duke) in the country, spending two years hunting for new drugs.
But the lab was stunted by a lack of financial support and proper materials to make any real progress. Sommer dropped out of school to found the Chordoma Foundation, which in the past year has begun testing ten promising FDA approved drugs in mouse models, discovered a genetic risk factor for chordoma and launched a national biobank to collect and distribute tumor tissue to researchers.
His advice to people diagnosed with a potentially fatal disease? “You have a lot of power.”
In addition to recognizing Sommer’s success in catapulting the field of chordoma research and fighting to improve the lives of people affected by chordoma, Forbes’ selection of Josh Sommer affirms the power patients wield as a group. The Chordoma Foundation owes many of its successes to the support of many chordoma patients, family members, friends and generous donors.
Poised to make great leaps in the search for a cure, the Chordoma Foundation funds research, operates a biospecimen repository, and facilitates communication and collaboration among researchers.