On May 28, 2009, one year from its launch, Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) announced its first round of three-year “Dream Team” grants to five multi-institutional, cross-disciplinary research teams, totaling $80.8 million. SU2C’s distinctive approach to funding cancer research was specifically designed to eliminate barriers to creativity and collaboration, in part, by enabling scientists with different expertise from different institutions across the country – and in some cases, internationally – to work together. Each Dream Team’s project is “translational” in nature, geared toward moving science from “bench to bedside” where it can benefit patients as quickly as possible. Collectively, the research being done through the Dream Team projects could impact the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of cancers in adults and children including, but not limited to pancreatic, breast, ovarian, cervical, uterine, brain, lung, prostate, melanoma, and leukemia, which represent two-thirds of all U.S. cancer deaths.
On Dec. 14, 2011, SU2C announced its first jointly funded Dream Team in collaboration with the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA). The SU2C-MRA Melanoma Dream Team Translational Cancer Research Grant provides $6 million during a three-year period for a project that will accelerate the application of new therapeutic agents for melanoma to the clinic, thus advancing scientific research in the interests of both today’s cancer patients and those who may develop cancer in the future.
On April 1, 2012, SU2C, in collaboration with the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF), announced a new Dream Team. The SU2C-PCF Prostate Dream Team Translational Cancer Research Grant provides $10 million during a three-year period for a project that addresses therapeutic interventions for advanced prostate cancer with special emphasis on metastatic disease. A second SU2C-PCF Prostate Dream Team Translational Cancer Research Grant also providing $10 million during a three-year period for a project was announced on Oct. 9, 2012.
On Aug. 2, 2012, SU2C, in collaboration with Kankerbestrijding/The Dutch Cancer Society (KWF), announced recipients of a new Sta Op Tegen Kanker International Translational Cancer Research Grant. This grant provides funding of €1.2 million ($1.5 million U.S.) for four years. The funding mechanism represents a new, focused effort to affect advances in cancer research as rapidly as possible through the creation of collaborative, international translational cancer research “Team.”
On Dec. 11, 2012, SU2C, in collaboration with the Cancer Research Institute (CRI), announced recipients of a new SU2C-CRI Cancer Immunology Translational Research Dream Team. This grant provides $11 million during a three-year period for a translational cancer research project that wi ll use immunology-based approaches to advance the treatment, control and prevention of cancer.
On April 7, 2013, SU2C, in collaboration with the St. Baldrick's Foundation, announced a new pediatric Dream Team. The SU2C-St. Baldrick's Pediatric Dream Team Translational Cancer Research Grant provides $14.5 million during a four-year period for a project that will focus on developing new, targeted immunotherapeutics for the most difficult-to-cure childhood cancers.
On Nov. 12, 2013, SU2C, in collaboration again with the Dutch Cancer Society, announced a new Sta Op Tegen Kanker Dream Team. The SOTK Dream Team Translational Cancer Research Grant provides €6 million (U.S. $8.1 million, at the current conversion rate) during a four-year period for a project that focuses on developing and analyzing tumor organoids from patients with pancreatic, prostate, or colon cancer, as a new screening tool to identify new drugs and drug combinations for evaluation in clinical trials.
On April 7, 2014, SU2C, in collaboration with the Lustgarten Foundation, announced a new SU2C-Lustgarten Foundation Pancreatic Cancer Convergence Dream Team. This grant will provide $8 million in funding over three years for a project that will develop new therapies to exploit patients’ own immune cells to treat their pancreatic cancers. The team will be supported in part by a gift to SU2C from the Fox Family Cancer Research Funding Trust. On the same day, SU2C also announced a new Translational Research Team, in collaboration with the Farrah Fawcett Foundation. The SU2C-Farrah Fawcett Foundation Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Translational Research Team Grant will provide $1.2 million in funding over three years for a project focused on patients with HPV-driven cancers (including anal, cervical, and head and neck cancers) who relapse following initial therapy, and will provide a novel approach to improving outcomes in this population for whom there are few therapeutic options.
Also on April 7, 2014, SU2C announced the first recipients of the annual Phillip A. Sharp Innovation in Collaboration Awards. These awards provide up to $250,000 over one to two years to promote exploration of synergistic and innovative collaborations between SU2C scientists that have not worked together in the past, in order to enhance the SU2C mission to accelerate the development of new cancer treatments.
Since the launch of this groundbreaking initiative in 2008, the AACR, SU2C's scientific partner, has played an integral role by providing scientific leadership and expert peer review and grants administration. For each grant opportunity, the AACR assembles a Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) led by Nobel Laureate Dr. Phillip A. Sharp to conduct innovative, interactive, rapid and rigorous scientific reviews of Dream Team ideas via a multi-step process. Joint Scientific Advisory Committees (JSAC) were formed for the SU2C-MRA, SU2C-PCF, SU2C-CRI and SU2C-St. Baldrick's, SU2C-Lustgarten Foundation, SU2C-Farrah Fawcett Foundation, and SU2C-KWF. The AACR is responsible for administering the Dream Team cancer research grants, including distributing the funds to the Dream Team leaders' institutions, following the Dream Team’s progress and providing scientific oversight through program management and evaluation of the Dream Teams’ progress and achievements during the funding period. The AACR and the Scientific Advisory Committees conduct regular reviews to ensure that milestones and objectives are being satisfactorily achieved.
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