SAA Funding Contributes to FDA Approval Of Keytruda

Courtesy of Swim Across America

For the first time, the FDA has approved a drug — KEYTRUDA — for cancer based diseased genetics rather than the site of a tumor.  KEYTRUDA now can be used for colon, pancreatic, stomach, ovarian and other cancers if genetic testing reveals defects in so-called mismatch repair.  The clinical trials for KEYTRUDA were conducted at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute. The testimonial letter below from Johns Hopkins acknowledges that in 2009, Swim Across America was the first organization to believe in the KEYTRUDA research project and provide funding for key KEYTRUDA trials.

December 31, 2016

Swim Across America
11600 N. Community House Road Charlotte, NC 28277

Dear Rob,

In 2009, I was a young faculty member at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center when Swim Across America-Baltimore believed enough in my research idea to provide necessary clinical funding for an immunotherapy treatment that is now FDA approved and saving lives.

To provide some context, I had applied for funding to an endless number of organizations. I was denied by all of them. Merck finally agreed to give us a sample of Keytruda immunotherapy vaccine but I had to come up with funding for the clinical trials. Enter Swim Across America, which provided funding for the trials at Johns Hopkins.

Since the inception of Swim Across America-Baltimore, you have provided over $2.6 million dollars to fund immunotherapy clinical trials and important cancer research at Johns Hopkins. FDA approval of Keytruda is our most visible success story and that success is now spawning more research that will likely lead to more treatments.

Your support is vital to helping oncology researchers like myself and my team pioneer new cures. SAA-Baltimore is family to me. I’ve participated in every swim, swimming slowly but surely, and proudly, and been warmly accepted.

My greatest joy is seeing lives saved and the appreciation I have that SAA is part of the story. Sincerely,

Dr. Luis Diaz


Swim Across America, Inc. (SAA) is dedicated to raising money and awareness for cancer research, prevention and treatment through swimming related events. With the help of hundreds of volunteers nationwide and past and current Olympians, SAA is helping find a cure for cancer through athleticism, community outreach and direct service.


Leave a Reply

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

Read More »

Want to take your swimfandom to the next level?

Subscribe to SwimSwam Magazine!