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Canary Foundation and the Thomas G. Labrecque Foundation Launch a New Lung Cancer Early Detection Initiative

-- It is estimated more than 160,000 Americans will die this year due to

lung cancer -- -- More than 50% of new patients have either never smoked or quit smoking,

according to the Lung Cancer Alliance --

NEW YORK, Nov. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Canary Foundation, a nonprofit organization that funds research in early cancer detection, and The Thomas G. Labrecque Foundation, a nonprofit organization that funds lung cancer research and awareness, jointly announced today that the Thomas G. Labrecque Foundation has pledged $10 million to the Canary Foundation to support a unique, new collaborative research program to save lives through early detection of lung cancer. The new joint program, called Canary Lung, is being announced today at a private event hosted by Mrs. Nelson Rockefeller at her home in New York.

"The effect of lung cancer on Americans is simply staggering," said Mr. David Rockefeller, an early supporter of Canary Lung. "I believe the Labrecque and Canary Foundations, through Canary Lung, can have a dramatic impact on this terrible disease."

"Cancer is still one of the greatest threats to our nation's families," said Don Listwin, founder and CEO of Canary Foundation. "But if detected early, the survival rate for cancer patients is much higher. Canary Foundation's overall strategy is to pursue short-term goals by funding research that will lead to simple blood and imaging tests that can identify and isolate cancers at their earliest points, when it is most treatable."

"Lung cancer, with a five-year survival rate of less than 15 percent, is responsible for more deaths than breast, prostate, colorectal and melanoma cancers combined," said Tom Labrecque Jr., President of the Labrecque Foundation. "We knew the only way to change the five-year survival rate was through early detection, and when we learned about Canary Foundation's mission, its distinctive approach of building collaborative teams consisting of the best and brightest researchers and clinicians from across the country, and their results, we knew we had found the right partner to advance our mission."

Institutions that will participate in Canary Lung will include the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, Stanford University in Palo Alto, and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. The Canary Science team is headed by Dr. Sanjiv "Sam" Gambhir, Professor of Radiology & Bioengineering and Director of the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford University. "For the past 10 years, my research has focused on molecular imaging with the goal of identifying cancer at its earliest stage possible," said Dr. Gambhir. "We are honored to add this team of top researchers to help those affected by lung cancer."


Cancer strikes one in three women and one in two men in the United States, and more than 570,000 die from it each year. But survival rates improve dramatically when cancer is diagnosed early, and the disease is confined to the organ of origin. For example, since 1950, there has been a 70 percent decline in cervical cancer incidence and deaths thanks to a simple screening test, the Pap test. However, early detection diagnostic tools do not exist for many cancers, and those that do exist are not blood-based, such as the colonoscopy and mammogram.

About Canary Foundation

Canary Foundation is named after the "early detection" role canaries once played by alerting coal miners of hazardous fumes. The Foundation is the nation's only nonprofit organization devoted exclusively to the early detection of cancer. All administrative and overhead costs are underwritten by the Listwin Family Foundation, allowing 100 percent of contributions to go entirely to early detection research activities.

Don Listwin founded Canary Foundation to address a notable lack of balance in cancer research. While almost $10 billion is spent annually on cancer research in the United States, the vast majority is allocated to developing new cancer treatments and caring for patients. Surprisingly, little funding is available to researchers investigating new ways to prevent cancer, or to detect it at its earliest, curable stages. Canary Foundation intends to affect this balance by increasing funding and by facilitating coordination among researchers and research institutions. Canary Foundation provides funding to researchers who are engaged in developing cancer early detection technologies and protocols. Specifically, Canary Foundation is supporting researchers working towards a standardized family of biomarker signatures for the effective and accurate early detection of all forms of cancer. For more information about the Canary Foundation and its programs, please visit

About Thomas G. Labrecque Foundation

The Thomas G. Labrecque Foundation is committed to preventing lung cancer through education and research. At the age of 62, Tom Labrecque, the former Chairman of The Chase Manhattan Bank, a never-smoker, died from lung cancer eight weeks after being diagnosed. Tom's family and friends started the Thomas G. Labrecque Foundation in 2002 to fight the #1 cancer killer in the United States. The Foundation has a two-pronged mission, to fund effective research and to educate people about lung cancer. In the process we want to break some of the stigmas associated with the disease, since many people believe it is a smokers' disease. For more information about the Thomas G. Labrecque Foundation, please visit

Media Contact

Kirsten Clausen Chip Smith

GolinHarris for Glover Park Group for

the Canary Foundation Labrecque Foundation

213-438-8726 202-337-0808

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