His great-grandfather, Dr. William B. Coley, is known as the “Father of Cancer Immunotherapy” and made important contributions to science and medicine. His great-aunt, Helen Coley Nauts, created the Cancer Research Institute, and his father, Peter Coley, was dedicated to CRI for many decades.
While family legacy casts a long shadow, it is not the driving force behind Geoff Coley’s commitment to CRI. Easing human suffering is. “This is the most complex scientific problem there is,” Geoff says. “The more we understand cancer, and the more we understand the immune system, the clearer it is that immune-based therapies and vaccines are going to play an important part in conquering this disease.”
As a former managing director and co-head of Global Fixed Income at Citigroup, Geoff understands the importance of achieving tangible, bottom-line results. “Basic research is ripe for translation into the therapeutic and practical. We need to accelerate the advancement of new vaccines and immunotherapies so we can begin treating patients now.”
Geoff sees organized, collaborative, well-broadcast scientific exchange as the only way to speed advancement. The Cancer Research Institute, he says, is in the best position to make this happen. “CRI has the coordinated, global network of clinicians and laboratory scientists in place already, working together to solve this problem.”
“It’s a fantastic opportunity. We’re in the vanguard of a new era in cancer discovery, when immune-based vaccines and therapies will be a fundamental pillar of treatment.”
Geoff has distinguished himself as a champion for the Institute. Each year he successfully appeals to friends and colleagues for donations to support the Institute’s work. His wife, Ann, is also involved: she co-chaired a CRI theater benefit to support the Institute’s Pediatric Cancer Initiative.
With three beautiful daughters, one wonders what future generations of Coleys will do to advance cancer research. Whatever the future holds, one thing is certain: visionary thinking must run in the Coley family.