Stand Up To Cancer Ushers In New Approach to Research
with Calls by AACR for SU2C Dream Teams on “Interception”
of Pancreas and Lung Cancers, Each Funded at $7 Million
With Support from the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Research, LUNGevity Foundation,
and the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE
PHILADELPHIA – Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) broke new ground today when the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), its scientific partner, announced to the cancer research community funding to support new Dream Teams focused on “cancer interception” of the pancreas and lung. Stand Up To Cancer is joined by collaborators the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, and by LUNGevity Foundation and the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE, in supporting these two Interception Dream Teams of the pancreas and lung, respectively.
“Interception is the new frontier in cancer research,” said Phillip A. Sharp, PhD, chairperson of the SU2C Scientific Advisory Committee, Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and its Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, and winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. “Essentially, we want to find cancer at its very earliest stages and stop it before it becomes a problem for the patient. This approach has not been a focus of any of the previous Dream Teams and could greatly benefit patients.”
“Cancer interception is the active way of combating cancer and carcinogenesis at earlier and earlier stages,” said Elizabeth Blackburn, PhD, president of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and author of a seminal 2011 article on cancer interception published in Cancer Prevention Research, an AACR journal. “Stand Up To Cancer is to be commended for encouraging research on this new approach.”
The AACR issued a separate Call for Ideas for each of the proposed teams:
• The SU2C-Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Interception Dream Team, which will provide up to $7 million over a four-year term to advance innovative approaches to intercept the disease-causing process. The Lustgarten Foundation, based in Bethpage, N.Y., is the largest private funder in the U.S. of pancreatic cancer research. The new team will be the fifth SU2C Team supported by the Lustgarten Foundation, bringing its total investment in SU2C research to $17,520,000.
• The SU2C-LUNGevity-American Lung Association Lung Cancer Interception Dream Team, which will provide up to $7 million to solve key problems in lung cancer interception research. LUNGevity Foundation is the leading lung cancer-focused private funder of research in the United States, with a programmatic focus on early detection. The American Lung Association is the country’s leading organization working to improve lung health and prevent lung disease. Specifically involved is LUNG FORCE, a Lung Association initiative that seeks to unite the nation in defeating lung cancer.
In addition, through a partnership with leading health care research and innovation collaborative OptumLabs, each team will have the ability to conduct research using OptumLabs’ proprietary database of de-identified claims and electronic health record data, analytic tools, and research support to pursue the proposed goals of the Dream Team.
Details on the program are available via the AACR page on https://proposalcentral.altum.com. The deadline for Letters of Intent for the SU2C-LUNGevity-American Lung Association Lung Cancer Interception Dream Team is March 8, 2017. The deadline for Letters of Intent for the SU2C-Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Interception Dream Team is March 22, 2017. The submission of full proposals will be invited from those selected for further consideration.
For pancreatic cancer, prioritized areas of interest include both applied and fundamental research including: the discovery and implementation of innovative methods that effectively detects pancreatic cancer at an early and surgically curable stage; new tools for monitoring disease progression and therapeutic response, which could potentially serve as surrogate endpoints for clinical trials and regulatory approval; investigation of novel chemoprevention or immune prevention approaches; the development of risk prognostication methods for pre-invasive pancreatic neoplasms and other conditions that elucidates the molecular details underlying that increased risk; the understanding of immune suppression and inflammation mechanisms that promote pancreatic cancer and the design of methods to circumvent this; and more generally research targeted at generating sufficient knowledge to justify a clinical intervention to test novel hypotheses related to early detection and treatment of pancreatic cancer.
For lung cancer, prioritized areas of interest include: research that accurately categorizes pre-malignant conditions according to risk of progression and elucidates the underlying alterations that increase that risk; identification of new targets for developing therapeutic interventions; potential surrogate endpoints for clinical trials and regulatory approval; new tools for early detection and monitoring progression; the role of inflammation and immunosuppression in progression; or research targeted at generating sufficient knowledge to justify a clinical intervention to test novel hypotheses.
Applicants for the grants are expected to show how their proposed projects will have positive benefit for patients in the near future, achieved through investigation by a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional, synergistic Dream Team of expert investigators. Priority will be given to applications that are characterized by a diversity of team members, including those from fields outside the traditional realms of biomedical research (e.g. physics, mathematics, engineering, health policy, and communications). Specific aims of the project may include basic research, translational studies, and population studies, but the overall proposal must have a strong clinical research component.
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About the Stand Up To Cancer Initiative
Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) raises funds to accelerate the pace of research to get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now. SU2C, a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, was established in 2008 by film and media leaders who utilize the industry’s resources to engage the public in supporting a new, collaborative model of cancer research, and to increase awareness about cancer prevention as well as progress being made in the fight against the disease. As SU2C’s scientific partner, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and a Scientific Advisory Committee led by Nobel Laureate Phillip A. Sharp, PhD, conduct rigorous, competitive review processes to identify the best research proposals to recommend for funding, oversee grants administration, and provide expert review of research progress.
Current members of the SU2C Council of Founders and Advisors (CFA) include Katie Couric, Sherry Lansing, Lisa Paulsen, Rusty Robertson, Sue Schwartz, Pamela Oas Williams, Ellen Ziffren, and Kathleen Lobb. Noreen Fraser and the late Laura Ziskin are also co-founders. Sung Poblete, PhD, RN, has served as SU2C’s president since 2011.
For more information on Stand Up To Cancer, visit www.standup2cancer.org.
About the American Association for Cancer Research
Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the world’s first and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. AACR membership includes more than 37,000 laboratory, translational, and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and cancer advocates residing in 108 countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise of the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, biology, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer by annually convening more than 25 conferences and educational workshops, the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting with almost 19,500 attendees. In addition, the AACR publishes eight prestigious, peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients, and their caregivers. The AACR funds meritorious research directly as well as in cooperation with numerous cancer organizations. As the Scientific Partner of Stand Up To Cancer, the AACR provides expert peer review, grants administration, and scientific oversight of team science and individual investigator grants in cancer research that have the potential for near-term patient benefit. The AACR actively communicates with legislators and other policymakers about the value of cancer research and related biomedical science in saving lives from cancer. For more information about the AACR, visit www.AACR.org.
About The Lustgarten Foundation
The Lustgarten Foundation is America’s largest private foundation dedicated to funding pancreatic cancer research. Based in Bethpage, N.Y., the Foundation supports research to find a cure for pancreatic cancer, facilitates dialogue within the medical and scientific community, and educates the public about the disease through awareness campaigns and fundraising events. Since its inception, the Lustgarten Foundation has directed $132 million to research and assembled the best scientific minds with the hope that one day, a cure can be found. Thanks to private funding, 100 percent of every dollar donated to the Foundation goes directly to pancreatic cancer research. For more information, please visit www.lustgarten.org.
About LUNGevity Foundation
LUNGevity is the nation’s leading lung cancer organization investing in lifesaving, translational research and providing support services and education for patients and caregivers. LUNGevity’s goals are three-fold: (1) accelerate research to patients, (2) empower patients to be active participants in their treatment decisions, and (3) remove barriers that patients face in accessing the right treatments.
LUNGevity Foundation is firmly committed to making an immediate impact on increasing quality of life and survivorship of people with lung cancer by accelerating research into early detection and more effective treatments, as well as by providing community, support, and education for all those affected by the disease. LUNGevity’s comprehensive resources include a medically vetted website, a toll-free Help Line in partnership with CancerCare®, a unique lung cancer navigator app, peer-to-peer matching for patients and caregivers (LUNGevity LifeLine), and survivorship conferences. LUNGevity also helps patients find and navigate clinical trials through our clinical trial finder tool, a Clinical Trial Ambassador program and participation with Emerging Med.
Our vision is a world where no one dies of lung cancer. For more information about LUNGevity Foundation, please visit www.LUNGevity.org.
About American Lung Association and LUNG FORCE
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit Lung.org.
LUNG FORCE is a national initiative led by the American Lung Association to unite women against lung cancer, the #1 cancer killer of women. LUNG FORCE has three priorities: (1) Make lung cancer a cause that people care about – and act on; ( 2) Educate and empower patients and healthcare providers and (3) Raise critical funds for lung cancer research. The American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE is nationally presented by CVS Health. Find out more at LUNGFORCE.org.
OptumLabs was established in 2013 through a partnership between Optum, a leading information and technology-enabled health services business, and Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research, and education, as an open center for research and innovation. AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership of more than 37 million individuals, is its Founding Consumer Advocate Organization. Today, OptumLabs has more than 25 collaborating organizations, representing participants from across the health care system. For more information, visit http://www.optumlabs.com, or follow OptumLabs on Twitter, @OptumLabs.