May is Cancer Research Awareness Month, a time highlighting the vital role of study and experimentation in the quest for cancer cures. As such, it is a particularly special month for the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR). If fact, our Svent-Györgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research ceremony, NFCR’s flagship annual public event, will again this year fall accordingly—this coming Saturday, May 5th!
It is not just the scientists and physicians that are to be honored. Patients, survivors, supporters, and trial subjects are too recognized for their contributions to battling a disease that is anything but straightforward to cure. Indeed, funding and awareness remain as important now as they ever were.
“The National Foundation for Cancer Research is focusing on the connections between basic and clinical research—giving more reasons for progress being made against cancer,” declared NFCR CEO Franklin Salisbury, Jr. “Bringing smarter, more effective treatments into the clinic, more cures can be delivered and patient’s lives saved.”
Part of the role Cancer Research Awareness Month serves is to emphasize the need for adequate funding for a disease that still kills more people than are cured of it. Dr. Margaret Cuomo, in her book A World Without Cancer, estimates that while there has been a drop in the cancer death rate, it is only by 1% every year, and only since 1990.
“Still, that’s hardly cause for celebration,” she writes. “Cancer’s role in one out of every four deaths in this country remains a haunting statistic.”
Distinguishing itself in the cancer sector by emphasizing long-term, transformative research often overlooked by other major funding sources, NFCR has delivered more than $350 million in funding to public education and cancer research leading to several important, life-saving discoveries with the help of more than 5.3 million individual donors over the last 45 years.
The Foundation channels its resources into very specific mechanisms of cancer’s biology, such as angiogenesis (the formation of blood vessels), along with such dynamic fields as personalized and targeted therapies, therapeutic antibody engineering and genomics. And yet our organization prides itself on being so much more than only a source of funds.
For example, the NFCR plays a leading role in supporting projects including GBM AGILE, a global medical and scientific collaborative effort representing the first disease-specific adaptive clinical trial platform for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a dreaded brain cancer. The international effort is designed specifically to capitalize on a growing knowledge base, incorporate novel clinical trial advances and leverage emerging capabilities to undertake more innovative and complex trial protocols.
Equally important, and in what is a strong undercurrent to Cancer Research Awareness Month, the NFCR aims to help bring developments to patients in as timely a manner as possible. The GBM AGILE effort is just one example of how we are dedicated to shortening the time between a laboratory discovery, which takes place in what can be an insular environment, to new treatments in clinics and hospitals.
“There is a deafening silence about available cancer treatments today that needs to be addressed if we hope to translate the breakthroughs in research to patients at their bedsides,” Franklin explains.
“It’s going to be research that cures cancer,” he continues. “As a catalyst for the kinds of ‘disruptive innovations’ that are accelerating the development of successful new approaches to treating cancer, all types of cancer, NFCR is prioritizing the connections between basic cancer research and translating discoveries being made in the laboratory into new treatments.”
And, if anything is, this is worth recognizing and honoring!
One of NFCR’s generous partners has agreed to help us fund vital cancer research by matching every dollar you give to the Matching Gift Challenge, up to $130,000!