Benefactors Propel Prostate Cancer Research

Benefactors Propel Prostate Cancer Research

Santo Politi and Eleanor G. Baldwin were inspired to establish the chair after they discovered the pioneering work of radiation oncologist Paul Nguyen, MD.


“We want to support Dr. Nguyen in his efforts to improve early diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer, and better yet, find a cure.”
SANTO POLITI


One in nine American men will develop prostate cancer at some point in their lives. It is the most common cancer for men after skin cancer.

Paul Nguyen, MD, an internationally recognized radiation oncologist and researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, is determined to find ways to diagnose and treat the disease as early as possible. His research also aims to identify the most effective treatments for each person based on their own genetic markers.

Nguyen’s pioneering work has drawn the attention of two Brigham patients, Santo Politi and Eleanor G. Baldwin. The couple pledged $2 million to establish the Baldwin Politi Family Distinguished Chair in Oncology, with Nguyen as its nominated incumbent.

“Cancer is such a huge problem,” says Politi. “We want to support Dr. Nguyen in his efforts to improve early diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer, and better yet, find a cure.”

Politi, co-founder and general partner of Spark Capital, a venture capital firm, and Baldwin, owner of New England Ornaments, the largest garden ornament company in the Northeast, are successful entrepreneurs who want to invest in great ideas and the people behind them.

Their gift will help Nguyen accelerate research to develop a more precise way for early detection of prostate cancer and to identify genetic biomarkers and molecular signatures to personalize treatment.

One of his goals is to better distinguish the more aggressive types of prostate cancer from the slow-growing form, which will enable doctors to provide patients with the most appropriate treatment matched to their disease.

“I am so grateful for this distinguished chair, which is not only a great honor but will provide a steady source of funds to advance this research now and in the years ahead,” Nguyen says.

When Politi and Baldwin met Nguyen, they were immediately struck by his personality and energy.

“What really comes through is how much Dr. Nguyen cares about his patients and wants to improve their treatment,” Santo says. “He has the vision and the passion to make a real difference. These are amazing qualities—ones we want to encourage.”