Gerald P Murphy masthead

Gerald P. Murphy Foundation
Notable Milestones


Gerald P. Murphy, M.D., becomes Director of the Pacific Northwest Cancer Foundation in Seattle, WA. He is world-renowned for his research on prostate cancer (including the development of the PSA test) and for his service as Chief Medical Officer of the American Cancer Society.

January 2000, Gerald P. Murphy dies in Tel Aviv, Israel. An international search begins for a new Executive Director. August 2000, Board of Directors appoints David J. Waters, DVM, PhD as Executive Director. Dr. Waters is a veterinarian and internationally recognized expert in the bone and prostate cancers of humans and animals, and Professor of Comparative Oncology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Ms. Deborah Wright is named Director of Business Development. The Foundation changes its name to the Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation in honor of Dr. Murphy.

Strategic Research Ventures

July 2001
The Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation and Purdue University enter into a Joint Research Agreement. Dr. Waters splits his appointment 50%-50% between the two institutions, representing a strategic effort to defeat cancer by combining the research capacity of a prestigious university (which has diverse research and teaching missions) with a Foundation that is focused on the prevention and treatment of prostate and bone cancer.

December 2001
The Foundation begins to establish a Clinical Trials Network of skilled veterinarians across the United States to conduct clinical trials in dogs with naturally-occurring prostate and bone cancer in order to test new, effective treatments for cancer. This work is intended to accelerate the development of new strategies to treat human cancer (PATH to Progress®).

August 2003
The Foundation begins enrollment in the SELECT Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial, the largest prostate cancer prevention trial ever undertaken. The Foundation is one of 429 study sites for SELECT in North America that will follow more than 32,000 men over the next 10 years. An important collaboration is developed with the Northern Indiana Cancer Research Consortium and with the Ismail Center for Health, Exercise, and Nutrition at Purdue University.

Patents and Trademarks

March 2001
U.S. Patent 6,200,765 is issued to the Foundation for improved non-invasive methods of prostate cancer detection. This further demonstrates the Foundation’s leadership in the pursuit of new tumor markers for the early detection of cancer.

May 2002
U.S. Patent 6,383,759 is issued to the Foundation for a method of prostate cancer detection utilizing the quantification of prostate cells in blood, urine, or semen.

June 2002
The Foundation files an application to trademark PATH to Progress, a business concept that describes its Comparative Oncology Research Program. In this not-for-profit cancer treatment and prevention program financed through research grants and private donations, pet dogs with naturally-occurring cancers are enrolled in state-of-the-art clinical trials to test new life-saving treatments that will ultimately lead to human application.

February 2004
The Foundation files an Intent to Use Application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for 2 Steps Ahead™, a trademark describing its Cancer Prevention Research Program. The timeliness of the Foundation’s research emphasis on cancer prevention is clearly articulated by a Fortune magazine March 2004 feature article, “Why we are losing the war on cancer.”

Scientific Progress: How We are Winning the War on Cancer

In March 2004, Fortune Magazine’s cover story explored the bold issue, “Why we are losing the war on cancer.” With the dramatic headline, “The Models of Cancer Stink,” the article emphasized that heavy reliance upon “conventional wisdom” — using rodents in the testing of new cancer treatments — has proved highly unreliable when translating results to human cancer patients. Nevertheless, rodent studies (which most universities and research institutes are highly invested in) remain the predominant methodology in bringing a treatment to market through the FDA process. The article also stressed the shortsighted practice of under-funding research in the area of cancer prevention. Cancer is a chronic disease that should be prevented, not just treated.

The accomplishments listed below illustrate the early and consistently strong commitment by the Murphy Foundation to cancer prevention and to the application of fresh approaches to finding new cancer treatments. By choosing Comparative Oncologist Dr. David Waters as successor to Gerald Murphy, the Foundation’s Board invested its faith in a new path to progress — an approach forged by studying the naturally-occurring cancers in pet dogs which are so similar to their human counterparts. By creating strategic alliances with top scientists and by capitalizing upon its expertise in conducting clinical cancer trials in pet dogs, the Murphy Foundation’s work is transforming the naturally-occurring cancers of pet dogs into a national resource — a platform to conduct cancer research that benefits both pets and people. With its focus on promoting health by conducting research that accelerates the useful application of new knowledge — from laboratory cell culture to human clinical trials — the Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation will be an invaluable player in the redefined war on cancer.

October 2001
The Foundation co-organizes an international conference in Ancona, Italy, resulting in a re-defining of the criteria for reliable bladder cancer diagnosis and prognostication. The findings are published in a leading European pathology journal, Virchows Archives of Pathology, in April 2003.

November 2002
Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, the highest impact cancer prevention journal in the world, publishes the Foundation’s results on causes of bone cancer in Rottweiler dogs. In December, Causes of Childhood Cancer, a newsletter produced by University of Minnesota, cites the Foundation’s published work on bone cancer demonstrating the significant link between bone cancers in pet dogs and children. The publication is circulated to people within the field of pediatric oncology throughout the US and Europe.

February 2003
Results of the Foundation’s research on selenium and prostate cancer are published in the Journal of National Cancer Institute, the top impact cancer research journal in the world. During the ensuing months, The Foundation enjoys press coverage of its work on selenium and prostate cancer in, Urology Times, Science News, Alternative Medicine, and others.

July 2003
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announces the creation of a Comparative Oncology Program. For the first time, the NCI formally recognizes the importance of studying naturally-occurring cancers of pet animals to advance the field of cancer research. Dr. Waters’ research is lauded as a key factor leading to the development of the field.

September 2003
The Foundation’s research on selenium and prostate cancer is highlighted in Cancer Research as one of 6 cited works on prostate cancer that represent the “Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research”. Later in 2003, the Foundation’s research on selenium and prostate cancer prevention is one of 10 national programs highlighted by the Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program.

December 2003
The Foundation’s research on exceptional longevity in pet dogs as a model for studying exceptional longevity in humans is published in the Journal of Gerontology. This landmark publication introduces a new conceptual model of what factors contribute to exceptional longevity and also documents that oldest-old pet dogs, like humans, are apparently cancer resistant. The Murphy Foundation launches the Exceptional Aging in Rottweilers Study (EARS). The research opens up serious dialogue in the aging research community about harnessing the pet dog population to advance our understanding of the complex relationship between aging and cancer. As a result, in October 2004 Dr. Waters is one of 31 invited scientists who participate in a conference held in Geneva, Switzerland entitled “Aging and Cancer at the Crossroads”.

May 2004
As a member of the Indiana Cancer Consortium, the Foundation assists in formulating the Cancer Control Plan for the State of Indiana, presented to the public in October 2004. Over the next 5 years, the Foundation will devote resources to implementing 2 specific parts of the Cancer Plan: (1) Cancer Prevention and Control and (2) The Prostate Cancer Initiative.

May 2004
Recognizing his expertise in aging research, the International Biogerontology Research Institute in Cividale, Italy, invites Dr. Waters as one of 16 top scientists worldwide to discuss the challenges and opportunities in training the next generation of biogerontologists. Reports of this workshop, to be published in Experimental Gerontology, provide a blueprint for training in the multidisciplinary aspects of aging research.

July 2004
The Foundation’s research on the differences in the cancer fighting properties of the trace mineral selenium in men and women is published in Mutation Research — the first publication in more than a decade to challenge the prevailing scientific dogma that what works in men works in women.

August 2004
Dr. Waters is invited to Bethesda, Maryland to present a lecture as part of the National Cancer Institute’s Animal Models Initiative. His presentation “Comparative Oncology as a New PATH to Progress” provides fresh insights into accelerating progress in finding new treatments for cancer.

September 2004
Dr. Waters is one of 40 scientists participating in the World Health Organization (WHO) International Consultation on Prognostic Factors in Prostate Cancer held in Stockholm, Sweden, continuing the rich tradition of International Consultations on Urology, which began in 1978 at the WHO. The workgroup reports, which reflect the state-of-the-art knowledge on prostate cancer prognostication, will be published in The Scandinavian Journal of Urology and Nephrology in 2005.

November 2004
The US Environmental Protection Agency sponsors a re-assessment of the scientific evidence leading to a new report analyzing the risk for human prostate cancer is published in Cancer. The 139 page report, co-authored by Dr. Waters, provides an important benchmark against which future progress in the field of prostate cancer prevention will be measured.

March 2005
Clinical testing of macrobeads cancer therapy begins in human patients. The impressive results documented by Murphy scientists treating pet dogs with life-threatening metastatic prostate and liver cancers were instrumental in gaining FDA approval to launch the first human clinical trial — further evidence that PATH to Progress® is a valid approach to moving forward new cancer treatments.

December 2006
The Foundation’s proposal to Scientific American is accepted for publication. The article entitled “A New PATH to Progress” will educate the general public about the emerging discipline of comparative oncology, the new hope it brings to pets and people afflicted with cancer, and captures the growing momentum behind the new war on cancer. This is the first life sciences article written by a Purdue University professor to appear in Scientific American in almost 30 years.

PATH to Progress® and 2 Steps Ahead™ are trademarks of the Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation.