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Cancer Programs
We Stop at Nothing to Defeat Cancer

By supporting cancer research at UCI, you help fund groundbreaking discoveries with the potential to revolutionize cancer treatment. One such discovery is STOPGAP, a phase 2 clinical trial designed to combat advanced stomach cancer.

STOPGAP has already given one of its earliest participants, Aparecida Bernjak, a new lease on life.

For years, Bernjak endured rounds of tests, including endoscopies and colonoscopies. All of them failed to identify the cause of her persistent stomach pain.

In 2021, Berjnak collapsed in her Signal Hill home. Rushed to a nearby hospital, she was diagnosed with gastric carcinomatosis. Doctors referred her to the UCI Health Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, where she had the opportunity to enroll in the newly launched STOPGAP clinical trial.

The trial uses a three-pronged approach:

  • Boosting the effectiveness of chemotherapy by infusing higher doses directly into the abdominal area
  • Cytoreduction surgery to remove visible cancer from the abdominal cavity
  • Bathing the surgical area with heated chemotherapy solution to kill any remaining microscopic cancer cells

Bernjack, now 76, remains in remission with no evidence of cancer more than a year after her initial diagnosis. She is still astonished that she navigated her treatments and surgery without severe side effects. Bernjak has been able to resume yoga practice, enjoy gourmet cooking and outings with her Pomeranian.

“The hope is to turn incurable disease to curable disease,” says UCI Health medical oncologist Dr. Farshid Dayyani, a nationally-regarded expert in gastrointestinal cancers. “The STOPGAP trial tries to lead patients on a path to surgery that might render them disease-free.”

Supported by the seed money from the UCI Anti-Cancer Challenge, STOPGAP is one of more than 300 active cancer clinical trials underway at UCI Health.

Your gift today can be a vital catalyst in the fight against cancer. Every dollar you donate directly supports UCI Anti-Cancer Challenge grants and helps UCI investigators such as Dayyani and Dr. Maheswari Senthil continue to make unprecedented progress in the battle against cancer. Give today to make a meaningful difference and invest in a better future for cancer patients and their loved ones.

Cancer Programs Donor Map
Rank State Gifts
1 CA 16
2 NV 2
3 AA 0
Student Outreach and Retention Center (SOAR) Parent Happy Hour Challenge
Five parents making a gift to any area of support on Giving Day from 5-7 PM PST will unlock a generous $5,000 gift to the Student Outreach and Retention Center from parents Sharon Sasaki and Robert Yamamoto!
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