LOS ANGELES January 29, 2014 -- The American Cancer Society, the largest voluntary health organization in the world dedicated to eliminating cancer, and Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), the charitable initiative supporting groundbreaking research aimed at getting new treatments to patients in an accelerated timeframe, announced today an historic collaboration in the fight against cancer, which takes more than 585,000 lives in the U.S. each year and nearly 8 million worldwide.
"SU2C was started by the entertainment community and has had tremendous success in heightening the public's awareness of the great promise of today's cancer research," said John R. Seffrin, Ph.D., chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society. "This alliance marries the Society's comprehensive cancer-fighting mission with SU2C's high-impact funding model. Collectively, the Society and SU2C can push ahead more quickly with cutting-edge research on some of the most deadly cancers, all for the benefit of patients."
"The American Cancer Society has been on the forefront of the battle against this insidious disease for more than 100 years; its millions of volunteers are literally the boots on the ground in this fight. We're honored to collaborate with an organization with such a rich history in the research, education and advocacy arenas," said Lisa Paulsen, an SU2C co-founder and president and CEO of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), the 501(c)(3) that serves as the fiduciary behind Stand Up To Cancer.
Stand Up To Cancer was launched in 2008. The initiative draws on the resources of the entire entertainment industry to encourage the public to support research conducted by teams of scientists, as well as by young, individual investigators. To date, more than 700 researchers from over 100 institutions have collaborated through SU2C.
The first project of the collaboration will be a $20 million research "Dream Team" focused on lung cancer, the leading cancer killer of men and women in the United States. The Society and SU2C together will fund the Dream Team over a three-year period to develop new therapies for lung cancer, with each group providing half the funding. Bristol-Myers Squibb will provide funding in the amount of $5 million to Stand Up To Cancer that will support the SU2C-ACS Lung Cancer Dream Team.
Later this year, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), Stand Up To Cancer's scientific partner, will issue a call for research proposals. The selection process will be conducted by a Joint Scientific Advisory Committee, composed of an equal number of experts nominated by SU2C and the Society. The team itself will be announced in 2015.
"Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality in the United States," said Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., Nobel Laureate and Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, who is chairman of SU2C's Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). "More work is urgently needed to address the many unanswered questions about lung cancer and guide new directions in treatment."
"By combining forces with SU2C, the Society looks forward to leveraging our combined resources with the extraordinary collaboration made possible by the Dream Team research model to transform the field of lung cancer research," said Otis W. Brawley, M.D., F.A.C.P., chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society. "We believe this translational research will enhance and further diversify our research portfolio."
Lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women, claiming the lives of approximately 160,000 people annually in the U.S. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than of colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 224,000 new cases of lung cancer are diagnosed annually in the U.S. Overall, among both smokers and non-smokers, the chance that a man will develop lung cancer in his lifetime is about 1 in 13; for a woman, the risk is about 1 in 16, although for smokers, the risk is much higher.
"There continues to be a high unmet medical need in patients with lung cancer, which is a difficult disease to treat," said Joseph Leveque, M.D., vice president, U.S. medical, oncology, Bristol-Myers Squibb. "Bristol-Myers Squibb is committed to improving patient outcomes in lung cancer and we are proud to support this collaborative approach to research with Stand Up to Cancer to find innovative ways to treat this disease."
The overarching collaboration also includes an advocacy component led by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the Society's nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, and SU2C (a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation). "ACS CAN is thrilled to bring its public policy expertise and nationwide network of advocacy volunteers to this collaboration to support increasing critical federal funding for lifesaving cancer research and prevention programs," said Christopher W. Hansen, president of ACS CAN.
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