One hundred percent of the funds raised by Closer to Free riders and volunteers goes to research and patient care at Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center.  Funds raised from the 2018 Closer to Free Ride presented by Bank of America benefitted programs and initiatives including:

Innovative Clinical Trials 

There are over 150 clinical trials from Yale Cancer Center available for patients at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven and our 11 Smilow Care Centers.  Funds from Closer to Free are used to support the availability of clinical trials testing new treatment options.


The Closer to Free Fund provides funding to our survivorship clinic at Smilow Cancer Hospital, which is available to all cancer survivors.  The Clinic evaluates patients post-treatment and creates a care plan including diet, exercise, supportive care, and cancer surveillance.  The Clinic provides patients and their families with vital information on cancer prevention, wellness, supportive services, and the latest health research related to cancer survivorship and is available to patients at our main campus and at two of our care centers on a monthly schedule.  If you or someone you know needs, help, call (203) 200-CARE.

Phase I Research Program

Phase I research is the first step of determining whether a new treatment will be successful for patients.  Many trials offer hope to patients without other treatment options available to them.  The Phase I Research Program at Yale Cancer Center evaluates new treatments and new combinations of therapies, many of which have been developed through laboratory research at Yale.  The support from Closer to Free expands the number of Phase I trials we can make available to our patients, bringing more possible treatment options to cancer patients everywhere. 

The funding from the Closer to Free Ride helped to launch a new Phase I Center, which opened in 55 Park Street, adjacent to Smilow Cancer Hospital, in September of 2016.  This devoted space provides specialized care to patients on Phase I clinical trials with a dedicated team of providers.

Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program

The funding from Closer to Free helps to provide genetic counseling support to patients at high risk.The Smilow Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program is composed of an interdisciplinary team that includes geneticists, genetic counselors, physicians, and nurses that work together with the goal of providing cancer risk assessment and working to prevent the development of hereditary cancers. Patients considered at risk for a familial or hereditary cancer receive genetic counseling and testing so informed medical decisions can be based on their own personal risk assessment.  These interventions can have a huge impact on a person’s life by allowing them to better manage their health and reduce their risk of ever developing cancer. 

Leukemia and Lymphoma Research Program

Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital recently recruited a Chief of Hematological Malignancies, Dr. Steven Gore, to help lead our clinical and research efforts in Leukemia and Lymphoma.  Dr. Gore is working along with Dr. Madhav Dhodapkar, Chief of Hematology, to strengthen our laboratory research into the prevention and cure of blood cancers.  Closer to Free continues to help to establish a bigger laboratory presence with a focus on basic, translational, and clinical science in hematological malignancies at Yale.  Over the last year three new translational clinicians joined the hematology team, Dr. Scott Huntington, Dr. Thomas Prebet, and Dr. Amer Zeidan to help fulfill the group’s mission of translational clinical care.

Shared Resources

Shared Resources provide critical support to our scientific members of Yale Cancer Center by offering access to technologies, instruments, and expertise that each individual lab cannot support on its own.  Yale Cancer Center currently supports 10 Shared Resources, which are accessible by any of our over 300 scientific members for their research projects.  Support from Closer to Free will help to purchase a new CyTof machine for the Pathology Tissue Service Shared Resource, which tracks and labels antibodies in blood samples.  This will help support our immunotherapy research efforts.  In addition, a new data storage server will be secured for our Cancer Outcomes, Public Policy, and Effectiveness Research Center (COPPER).  Lastly, more bioinformatics support will be added to the Yale Center for Genome Analysis to help support our research initiatives.

Melanoma Research

Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven have made incredible progress in the basic understanding and treatment of melanoma over the last 5 years with the help of our SPORE in Skin Cancer.  In 2015, the Yale team used exome sequencing to discover recurrent mutations in gene pathways of sun-exposed melanomas.  This new finding will help to pave the way to find new treatment options by blocking those newly discovered pathways.  Smilow Cancer Hospital was also one of the first sites in the country to offer immunotherapy clinical trials for patients with advanced melanoma, and many of our patients found great success on those trials with no active disease years later.  Four immunotherapies are now FDA approved for melanoma.  Funding from Closer to Free will augment our SPORE grant to provide additional resources toward melanoma research and care so we can continue to advance the field.