Impact of the Courage Ride

Dr. Mohammed Milhem, Medical Oncologist at The University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center describes the impact of the Courage Ride. Dr. Milhem's specialty is Sarcoma and Melanoma care and research. Though there are over 100 subtypes of sarcoma, it is one of the rarer types of cancer. In 2011, it was predicted that less than 1% of people in the US would be diagnosed with sarcoma. Though the National Cancer Institute has improved funding for sarcoma research over the past few years, funding for sarcoma research falls far short when compared to other, more common cancers. Because of this, it is very hard for centers to get a sarcoma-focused program of research up and going.

Dr. Milhem shared that because of the generous donations from the Courage Ride, he has been able to get a robust program started at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center. When he came to Iowa in 2007, there were no sarcoma clinical trials open at the University of Iowa. There are now 14 clinical trials open for sarcoma alone. It is very important that medical oncologists and others that care for people with and do research on sarcoma partner and share news and ideas. Clinical trials help doctors and researchers learn what the best treatments are for cancer. Cancer discoveries can take 10+ years before being a standard part of treatment and can cost $3 million dollars per person from the time it was an idea in a researchers head until it is a treatment for all with the diagnosis. Because less than 30% of sarcomas respond to chemotherapy, people with sarcoma need to be able to get new drugs and treatments. Having many studies with different treatments and treatments for different stages of disease provides this chance for patients. Dr. Milhem has helped to start the Midwest Sarcoma Trial Partnership where doctors from UIHC, Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, the University of Minnesota, Washington University-St. Louis, Northwestern University in Illinois and the University of Wisconsin are now networking to share facts and clinical trials for patients across the Midwest. Dr. Milhem and other medical oncologists are now able to offer treatment for people with metastatic (cancer that has spread in the body) sarcoma that results in many years of quality life, something that he was not able to offer before.

The contributions from the Courage Ride gave Dr. Milhem and the program at UIHC a platform or "a step up." It has helped to support a sarcoma tissue bank where tissue and blood are stored for study. Researchers use this stored tissue and blood to learn more about the disease and how it grows and spreads. Learning more about cancers can help personalize the care people get for the traits their cancer has. Money raised from the Courage Ride supports the Sarcoma Research Program led by Drs. Ben Miller and Munir Tanas. It helps the University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center reach goals now and into the future. Thank you for your donations and support of the Courage Ride!


University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center

Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center has collaborated with the friends and family of Seth A. Bailey and the Bicyclists of Iowa City to put on a Courage Ride to honor the courage of all those who have battled cancer. Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center is dedicated to bringing world class research and cancer care to Iowa, the Midwest, and beyond.

The University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center has an expert team that specialize in treating sarcomas. Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center is also a member of the Sarcoma Alliance for Research Collaboration and the Mayo Clinic Phase 2 Consortium, which gives our doctors the ability to offer more clinical trials to their sarcoma patients.

Holden Cancer Center is Iowa's only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center and has held that designation since 2000. The NCI designation recognizes the cancer center, and its research scientists, physicians and other health care professionals, for their roles in advancing cancer research that impacts on the ability to prevent, detect and treat patients with cancer.

Want to learn more about the sarcoma program at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center? Visit their page at:


Courage Ride Patient Honorees