New sponsorship will fund multidisciplinary teams that aim to remove barriers to cancer clinical trial participation, with a focus on medically underserved communities
LOS ANGELES – June 16, 2022 – Today Stand Up To Cancer® (SU2C) announced a sponsorship from the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson aimed at increasing diversity in Phase 1 and Phase 2 cancer clinical trials. A $5 million sponsorship from Janssen will support SU2C’s health equity efforts, including funding four groups of researchers that will develop new approaches to remove barriers to clinical trial participation for patients of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, as well as patients in medically underserved communities. The goal of the program is to address cancer disparities by creating a sustainable, scalable, and replicable approach to removing barriers to Phase 1 and Phase 2 cancer clinical trial participation.
As a part of SU2C’s Health Equity Initiative, the Diversity in Early Development Clinical Trials Program, funded by Janssen, will encourage collaborations in four regions, as determined by the selected groups of funded researchers. These research teams will collaborate with Federally Qualified Health Centers, clinics and local advocacy organizations serving medically underserved communities within each region. The research teams will meet to share progress and research findings over the course of the grant period to ensure best practices are being incorporated into the program. SU2C will provide dedicated support for community awareness and outreach in support of the grantee teams, as well as additional funding for local community advocacy organizations to support these efforts.
Each grantee team will be unique in bringing together stakeholders that are deeply connected to the impacted communities. The funded research will integrate social and behavioral determinants of health and community engagement with cancer biology, prevention, and treatment to improve cancer health equity. A mentorship component for early career investigators interested in improving cancer clinical trial diversity will also be included in each team’s effort.
“As one of the leading funders in cancer research, Stand Up To Cancer believes it is critical to ensure that the lack of diverse representation in cancer clinical trials is addressed,” said Russell Chew, president of SU2C. “This is a national imperative that we cannot turn away from. We need fresh ideas that help to innovate and redesign the cancer clinical research enterprise to include communities that have long been left out. We are incredibly grateful to Janssen for their support in these critical efforts.”
In the United States, cancer clinical trial participation remains significantly lower for people of diverse race and ethnicity, and people in medically underserved communities. This is despite the fact that substantial disparities exist in screening, diagnosis and mortality rates for most cancers. According to 2020 data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 73% of cancer trial participants are white, 14% are Asian, 6% are Hispanic and 5% are Black. Disparities in clinical trial participation mean that many Americans from diverse groups may be less likely to have access to innovative therapies in clinical trials. Importantly, the lack of diverse trial representation makes it very difficult for health care providers to find evidence-based treatments for all patients.
“We look forward to working with Stand Up To Cancer on this important initiative as part of our ongoing commitment to building diversity, equity and inclusion not just in our late phase clinical research but also in our early clinical development programs,” said Jeffrey Infante, M.D., Global Head, Oncology Early Clinical Development and Translational Research, Janssen Research & Development, LLC. “As an oncology community, we must come together to prioritize engaging patients from all backgrounds in clinical trials and, at the same time, support research that seeks to understand and overcome the barriers to clinical trial participation.”
Interested potential grantees are invited to submit a Letter of Intent by June 30. Applicants who are invited to submit a Full Application should do so by Monday, August 29. The selected teams will be notified in September 2022 and awardees will be required to participate in a SU2C Community Engagement Innovation Summit in November 2022.
SU2C announced its Health Equity Initiative in January 2020. The initiative focuses on three areas: increasing diversity in SU2C-funded clinical trials, initiating advocacy group collaborations and awareness campaigns, and funding research aimed at improving cancer outcomes and screening rates in medically underserved communities.
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About Stand Up To Cancer
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 division of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, was established in 2008 by media and entertainment leaders who utilize these communities’ resources to engage the public in supporting a new, collaborative model of cancer research, to increase awareness about cancer prevention, and to highlight progress being made in the fight against the disease. As of January 2022, more than 2,000 scientists representing more than 210 institutions are involved in SU2C-funded research projects.
Under the direction of our Scientific Advisory Committee, led by Nobel laureate Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., SU2C conducts rigorous competitive review processes to identify the best research proposals to recommend for funding, oversee grants administration, and ensure collaboration across research programs.
Current members of the SU2C Founders and Advisors Committee (FAC) include Katie Couric, Sherry Lansing, Kathleen Lobb, Lisa Paulsen, Rusty Robertson, Sue Schwartz, Pamela Oas Williams, and Ellen Ziffren. The late Laura Ziskin and the late Noreen Fraser are also co-founders. Russell Chew serves as SU2C’s president and CEO.