AACR and SU2C: Celebrating a Longstanding Scientific Partnership
A long and fruitful partnership in the world of cancer research began in 2006 in Hollywood with AACR CEO Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), attending a meeting with Sherry Lansing, former chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures, and a roomful of other visionary women in the entertainment and broadcasting industries. They wanted to do something to help expedite lifesaving breakthroughs to patients.
“I can vividly remember the first planning and strategy meeting at Sherry Lansing’s office in 2006,” said Foti. “It was very exciting to learn that the leaders of Stand Up To Cancer wanted AACR to be actively involved in this new initiative and to oversee its scientific review and grants administration.
“At that first meeting, I met an amazing group of women—the co-founders—who were determined to make a difference in the fight against cancer—something big and bold with a lasting impact for patients.”
They created SU2C to harness the power of the entertainment industry to engage the public in support of cancer research and awareness. They launched the group formally in 2008.
In addition to Lansing, the group that became SU2C’s Founders and Advisors Committee included Katie Couric, Kathleen Lobb, Lisa Paulsen, Rusty Robertson, Sue Schwartz, Pam Williams, and Ellen Ziffren, as well as Noreen Fraser and Laura Ziskin, who have since passed away from cancer.
SU2C staged its latest telecast on August 19 to celebrate cutting-edge research funded through the organization. Titled “How It Started, How It’s Going,” the show featured stars from film, television, sports, and journalism who have supported the SU2C movement. The show also featured numerous researchers whose work has been funded by SU2C.
As SU2C’s Scientific Partner, AACR has provided expert scientific oversight and expertise in collaboration with the SU2C Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). This committee is composed of highly accomplished scientists, clinicians, and advocates, chaired by Nobel Laureate and AACR Lifetime Achievement in Cancer Research Awardee, Phillip A. Sharp, PhD, FAACR.
The AACR is responsible for scientific review and administration of the Dream Team grants and other types of team and individual grants, distributing the funds to the grantees’ institutions, following progress, and providing scientific oversight through program management and evaluation of the achievements of grantees during the funding period. The Dream Team concept is just one of the funding models which AACR helps administer.
To date, SU2C has raised over $795 million for cancer research. SU2C grants have helped fund more than 3,000 scientists from over 210 leading institutions. Research funded through SU2C has contributed to the development of nine new cancer therapies approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and has helped support more than 270 clinical trials, encompassing an estimated 29,300 patients.
“During these 15 years, SU2C has become a force for progress against cancer,” Foti said. “AACR looks forward to continuing as SU2C’s Scientific Partner and to working together to achieve our shared mission of defeating cancer in all its forms.”
In connection with the telecast event, Foti shared some behind-the-scenes memories of SU2C’s beginnings and looked ahead to a continued partnership with SU2C. Here are her remarks in full:
Good evening, everyone. Thank you for the introduction and the opportunity to say a few words.
The American Association for Cancer Research is very proud to be the Scientific Partner of Stand Up To Cancer. And what an amazing 15 years it has been! Stand Up To Cancer is and continues to be one of the most rewarding programs in which I have been involved during my career, and I know that our Board and everyone at AACR feel the same.
I can vividly remember the first planning and strategy meeting at Sherry Lansing’s office in 2006. It was very exciting to learn that the leaders of Stand Up wanted AACR to be actively involved in this new initiative and to oversee its scientific review and grants administration.
At that first meeting I met an amazing group of women—the co-founders—who were determined to make a difference in the fight against cancer—something big and bold with a lasting impact for patients.
I would like to thank all the dedicated co-founders. You have our praise and profound gratitude for your dedicated efforts. We miss Laura Ziskin and Noreen Fraser and will be forever inspired by their leadership.
AACR is thrilled to work in partnership with SU2C’s new leaders: Dr. Russell Chew, Stephanie Herron, and now, Dr. Julian Adams, as well as the SU2C staff who are working hard to realize the vision of the co-founders!
AACR has been honored to work with a stellar group of scientists who serve on the Scientific Advisory Committee, led with distinction by Nobel Laureate Dr. Phil Sharp. I want to thank Phil, the entire SAC, and especially Vice Chair Dr. Ray DuBois, who is here with us tonight, for their expertise and efforts.
During these 15 years, SU2C has become a force for progress against cancer. AACR looks forward to continuing as SU2C’s Scientific Partner and to working together to achieve our shared mission of defeating cancer in all its forms!
Congratulations again on 15 years of remarkable lifesaving contributions to cancer research!