Mar. 7, 2012—The Cancer Research Institute (CRI) and Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), in partnership with the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), have issued a call for letters of intent from scientists and clinical investigators interested in forming the SU2C-CRI Cancer Immunology Translational Research Dream Team.
As part of this program, CRI and SU2C will provide up to $6 million over three years to fund a translational cancer research project that addresses treatment, control, and prevention of cancer by immunology-based therapeutic approaches, and deliver near-term patient benefit through investigation by a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional, synergistic Dream Team of expert investigators. The project must be designed to accelerate the application of new diagnostic or therapeutic agents to the clinic within 2-3 years.
As the only nonprofit organization with 60 years of leadership in the field of tumor immunology, the Cancer Research Institute has played an integral role in shaping the vision for the field since its earliest years, and has provided the foundation for today’s emerging class of effective cancer immunotherapies.
“Through this partnership, Stand Up To Cancer and CRI will leverage one another’s resources to obtain greater impact than either organization could have achieved alone,” says Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, Ph.D., CEO and director of scientific affairs for CRI. “Matched support from SU2C means CRI’s donors are getting more than twice the return on their charitable investment in our mission, and that’s extremely valuable at a time when funding for translational cancer immunology research is scarce.”
O’Donnell-Tormey also anticipates that the partnership will help to raise public awareness of the potential for immunotherapy to transform the treatment of all cancers. “Through SU2C’s television broadcasts and public service announcements, more people will learn about cancer immunotherapy and the work of the Cancer Research Institute, and that’s going to be very good for the field and, ultimately, for cancer patients.”
Stand Up To Cancer launched the first cancer research Dream Teams in May 2009 in an effort to unify leading scientists from various disciplines and focus their efforts on shared objectives. Six Dream Teams have already begun work in breast and other women’s cancers, pancreatic cancer, genetic studies, and diagnostics. SU2C recently announced calls to form Dream Teams focused on melanoma and prostate cancer.
“We are working with SU2C and AACR to establish the Joint Scientific Advisory Committee (JSAC) that will oversee the Immunology Dream Team selection process, and are confident that the research project most likely to have the greatest impact on cancer patient health will be selected,” O’Donnell-Tormey says.
CRI’s representative on the JSAC is Giorgio Trinchieri, M.D., director of the Cancer and Inflammation Program and chief of the Laboratory of Experimental Immunology at the Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, and associate director for basic science at the Trans-NIH Center for Human Immunology. Trinchieri, who is serving as JSAC co-chair, is a longtime member of the CRI Scientific Advisory Council and sits on the CRI Postdoctoral Fellowship Review Committee.
“The recent advances in many different aspects of immunotherapy—from the elicitation of the patients’ own immunological response against tumors either by active vaccination or by the removal of immunological brakes, to the successful use of adoptive cell transfer therapy protocols—has clearly demonstrated that immunity can be harnessed for a successful tumor treatment,” says Trinchieri, “and that rational combination of novel immunotherapies with classical chemo or radiotherapy or molecularly targeted therapies likely offers the highest chance of success for the complete cure of many cancers.”
According to Trinchieri, an initiative such as the SU2C-CRI Cancer Immunology Translational Research Dream Team offers a unique opportunity to tackle successfully the complexity of the different fields of research of tumor microenvironment, molecular genetics, metabolic response, and immunology that need to be combined in order to rapidly make available effective immunotherapies to cancer patients.
“Such an accomplishment would indeed fulfill the dream of CRI’s founder Mrs. Helen Coley Nauts and of Dr. Lloyd Old to use immunology for the treatment, control, and prevention of cancer beyond what surgery and conventional therapy can accomplish,” Trinchieri says.
AACR requests that letters of intent be submitted by April 9, 2012. The selected Dream Team will be announced in September 2012. For more information about eligibility criteria and the application process, visit http://www.aacr.org/SU2CCRI.
Brian M. Brewer
Cancer Research Institute
+212.688.7515, ext. 242
About the Cancer Research Institute
The Cancer Research Institute (CRI), established in 1953, is the world’s only nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to transforming cancer patient care by advancing scientific efforts to develop new and effective immune system-based strategies to prevent, diagnose, treat, and cure cancer. Guided by a world-renowned Scientific Advisory Council that includes three Nobel laureates and thirty members of the National Academy of Sciences, CRI has invested more than $200 million in support of research conducted by immunologists and tumor immunologists at the world’s leading medical centers and universities, and has contributed to many of the key scientific advances that demonstrate the potential for immunotherapy to change the face of cancer treatment.
To accelerate the pace of progress in the field, CRI convenes and coordinates global collaborations among academics, industry scientists and decision makers, regulatory representatives, and health research associations focused on discovery, development, and refinement of new cancer immunotherapies. A founding visionary and scientific leader in tumor immunology, CRI is helping to shape the emerging field of immuno-oncology, and is ushering in a new era of medical progress to bring more treatment options to cancer patients sooner.
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