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Alliance Marks Commitment to Rapidly Advance Cancer Early Detection
Canary Foundation, a nonprofit organization that funds research in early cancer detection, and Stanford University will announce today the commencement of a Center of Excellence for Cancer Early Detection. The Center formalizes a joint interest of Canary Foundation and Stanford University's Department of Radiology to advance molecular diagnostics with an emphasis in molecular imaging to
pinpoint cancer while it is small. Canary Foundation celebrates this alliance with a pledge of $7.5 million, with $4 million to be matched by the Department of Radiology, slating a total of $11.5 million dollars for cancer early detection research.
This announcement also exemplifies a commitment between Canary
Foundation and Stanford University's Cancer Center, which has recently
received a National Cancer Institute designation. The Center of Excellence
for Cancer Early Detection will be headed by Dr. Sanjiv Sam Gambhir,
Professor of Radiology & Bioengineering, and Director of the Molecular
Imaging Program at Stanford.
The Center of Excellence will be formally announced tonight at a
Welcome reception for the Canary Foundation's third annual National Early
Detection Initiative Stakeholders Symposium, which takes place from May 22
- 24 at Stanford University.
"Cancer is still one of the greatest threats to our nation's families.
But if detected early, the survival rate for cancer patients is 90
percent," said Don Listwin, founder and CEO of Canary Foundation. "Canary
Foundation's 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 and
chances for full recovery are greatest. We believe that our work with
Stanford University's Center of Excellence for Cancer Early Detection and
the Stanford Cancer Center will pave the way to early detection of multiple
cancers that will inform all other major cancers. We are thrilled to
contribute to this exciting and promising research."
Dr. Philip Pizzo, Dean of Stanford University School of Medicine said,
"This type of alliance between Canary Foundation and Stanford University
School of Medicine is enormously important. Canary Foundation as a
nonprofit organization represents the community's desire to find answers to
cancer, one of our nations leading health care issues. By combining our
talents in innovation and discovery-based research with our commitment to
advancing diagnosis, treatment and prevention, we are responding directly
to that desire by partnering with Canary Foundation on these important
The specific researchers who will receive funds from Canary
Foundation's pledge will include Dr. Sanjiv Gambhir, M.D., Ph.D. Dr.
Gambhir's laboratory focuses on merging advances in molecular biology with
those in biomedical imaging to advance the new field of molecular imaging.
These imaging approaches are leading to much better ways to diagnose and
manage diseases as well as allowing fundamental studies of cancer biology
in living subjects.
"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. "I am honored that an organization like the Canary Foundation
sees the potential in our work to save the lives of many."
Gary M. Glazer, M.D., who chairs the Stanford Department of Radiology,
stated, "Stanford's Radiology Department has played a leading role in
advancing the revolution in medical imaging, which has transformed patient
care over the past several decades. The newly developing field of cellular
and molecular imaging has immense promise for providing tools for the far
earlier detection of cancer and the assessment of response to therapy than
existing methods. We are delighted that the Canary Foundation has
recognized this potential and the strengths of Stanford by generously
contributing to create this Center of Excellence."
Dr. Beverly Mitchell, Deputy Director of Stanford's Cancer Center
stated, "The curability of many cancers depends on early diagnosis and
rapid medical intervention. Research into methods of early detection and
the validation of these methods in patients will be a major focus of the
Stanford Cancer Center. This gift from Canary Foundation is an
extraordinary contribution to this effort. It will allow the Center to
support promising new lines of research, especially in the areas of
molecular imaging, nanotechnology and new proteomic methodologies. This
research will require both creative science and clinical trials. The Cancer
Center, in partnership with the Canary Foundation, will use the strength
and ingenuity of its basic science and clinical faculty to make the promise
of early detection of cancer a reality."
In addition to Dr. Gambhir's lab, another lab that will receive funds
from Canary Foundation pledge will be that of Dr. Patrick Brown. His
laboratory works with DNA microarrays to better understand how the
molecular microenvironment influences the survival and proliferation of
normal and cancer cells, with the goal of identifying patterns of gene
expression that can be used to detect cancers and predict their potential
for progression or response to specific therapies. Others who will receive
funding include Dr. James Brooks, known for his research into the treatment
of prostate cancer, and Dr. Simon Fredriksson of the Stanford Genome
Technology Center who has been studying proximity ligation technology.
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.
Canary Foundation's National Early Detection Initiative Stakeholders
Since 2005, Canary Foundation has held a two-day symposium for to bring
together members of the extended Canary Foundation Network, including
leading academic leaders, researchers, clinicians, as well as governmental,
commercial and foundational partners. This event is held to foster the
exchange of ideas and development and to eliminate the artificial barriers
that can exist between institutions and organizations. For more information
about the Canary Foundation, or the third annual National Early Detection
Initiative Stakeholders Symposium to be held May 22-24, please visit
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, please click here
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