Tyler Trent endowment leads to breakthrough discoveries in cancer research

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — This week, Purdue superfan Tyler Trent would have celebrated his 23rd birthday.

As you may remember, Tyler died from a rare form of bone cancer in 2019 but his legacy lives on through an endowment in his name at Purdue University’s Cancer Research Center.

“It was at the heart of who Tyler was and his passion to be an advocate for cancer awareness and research, and funding specifically,” said Tyler’s mom, Kelly.

“Tyler dreamed of raising a million dollars for cancer research and we have raised $2.7 million in his endowment here,” said Dr. Timothy Ratliff, Robert Wallace Miller Director of Purdue University Center for Cancer Research.

The funds have led to breakthrough discoveries in chemotherapeutic studies focusing on highly resistant tumors like the very ones Tyler was battling.

“They’ve been able to develop artificial intelligence to determine when a cell is susceptible to chemotherapy agent and when it’s resistant,” Dr. Ratliff said.

Dr. Ratliff says new research has led to new developments in learning when a cell is susceptible to chemotherapy and how the immune system responds.

“It will lead to new treatments in that disease,” Dr. Ratliff said.

Tyler donated his own cells to cancer research– which are being used in studies at the very campus he called home.

“They used Tyler’s cells to analyze various chemotherapy agents to see if you can identify how these resistant tumors might respond to other agents,” Dr. Ratliff said.

Until the very end of his life, Tyler chose to help others.

“He didn’t want any other child or family to go through that,” Kelly said.

His legacy going beyond football and forever changing cancer research.

“His dream was to eradicate cancer in his lifetime and if not, in 100 years,” said Tyler’s dad, Tony.

To learn more about the endowment, click here.

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