Dr. Tom Marsilje, a cancer researcher and colorectal cancer patient advocate, founded the clinical trials neighborhoods in COLONTOWN, PALTOWN's first patient and caregiver community. We seek to honor his legacy by continuing his focus on access to clinical trials information and empowering patients to find the best treatment options available. Dr. Marsilje passed away in the fall of 2017.
Dr. Tom Marsilje
Dr. Tom Marsilje was a 20-year oncology drug discovery scientist, including being a co-inventor of the non-small cell lung cancer drug “ceritinib.” He was a co-author on 25 scientific publications and was co-inventor of 19 Issued US Patents.
He was diagnosed with colorectal cancer (CRC) in 2012, and quickly realized that he had a unique viewpoint as both a Stage IV patient and as an oncology drug discovery scientist. He recognized that this unique dichotomy could be a powerful tool for CRC patient advocacy. He could see and articulate both viewpoints of cancer: the patient viewpoint and the scientific viewpoint. His advocacy was kicked off by being a Colon Club featured survivor in their 2016 Colondar 2.0 annual magazine, bringing national-level awareness to early-onset CRC.
Since that advocacy start, highlights included helping to create and run as lead scientist the COLONTOWN CLINICS CRC Clinical Trial online communities recently featured on NBC Evening News with Lester Holt and MSNBC and the release of a MSS-CRC curated clinical trial finder as featured by STAT News.
As a prolific writer, he wrote a personal blog on life at the intersection of being both a cancer patient and researcher with regular readership in 150 countries, “Adventures in Living Terminally Optimistic”, a science column for Fight Colorectal Cancer “The Currently Incurable Scientist“, and numerous columns on Stage IV cancer life and issues for the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper and website.
Dr. Tom Marsilje passed away in the fall of 2017. His legacy of patient empowerment and the relentless search for better treatments – both as researcher and patient – remains at the core of the work of PALTOWN.
After Tom's passing, PALTOWN created the Cannonball Award, to honor his legacy and highlight champions of health and Humanity. The 2018 Inaugural Cannonball Award was presented to Joe Jimenez, then-CEO of Novartis, who provided this video message for the award presentation.