Purdue cancer prof talks ‘The Challenge’

Purdue professor Andy Mesecar made a stop by News 18 at Noon on Thursday to discuss The Challenge and the benefits of the event. (WLFI Photo)
Purdue professor Andy Mesecar made a stop by News 18 at Noon on Thursday to discuss The Challenge and the benefits of the event. (WLFI Photo)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — It’s almost time to lace up your shoes for a great cause. The Challenge 5K Run/Walk is right around the corner and so is the deadline register online.

Andy Mesecar, a Purdue professor of cancer structural biology, made a cameo on News 18 at Noon on Thursday to discuss The Challenge and the benefits of the event.

Mesecar said the race has been nine years and running now, and all proceeds raised from the event go directly to supporting innovative cancer solutions at Purdue and the Center for Cancer Research.

“So we have race sponsors that actually provide money to help us offset the costs of the race, and then the $30 entry fee that everybody puts in goes directly to research,” Mesecar explained. “And that’s where we are able to advance some of the technologies that we are developing at Purdue to get those technologies into the clinic.”

Over the race’s duration, Mesecar said the event has raised $490,000. He hopes the The Challenge can have another record-breaking year.

“Professors have new ideas and want to explore those ideas and may not be normally funded by our traditional-type research,” he said. “So the pilot funds that we provide them … that money goes in to feed those professors and their research programs to move some of those projects forward.”

Mesecar said in order to receive initial pilot funding professors are peer-reviewed by faculty on campus to ensure the project is high quality and also the project will actually lead to a solution.

“After those projects are moving forward, it gives the preliminary data to actually compete for larger grants that will sustain that research program for the next four to five years to really make those solutions,” Mesecar explained.

At Purdue University, Mesecar said there are currently 98 professors actively involved in research on campus. He also estimates 350 post-doctoral research students, who are working toward cancer solutions each day.

The Challenge 5K Run/Walk takes place Saturday, April 16 at 8:30 a.m. at Ross-Ade Stadium. Purdue head football coach Darrell Hazell will kickoff the race. Cost of registration is $30.

Online registration is available until Thursday, April 14, but on-site registrations the day of the race will be gladly accepted.

Watch the full video clip to hear Mesecar’s story of how cancer impacted the life of his family in October 2014.

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