Industry and academic researchers gather for innovative accelerating cancer cures research symposium

March 04, 2013

Cambridge, MA (March 4, 2013) - Today, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation held its annual Accelerating Cancer Cures Research Symposium designed to foster communication and collaboration between cancer researchers in industry and academia to speed progress against cancer. Hosted by Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company, the meeting included physician-scientists from Eli Lilly and Company, ARIAD, Celgene, Genentech, Merck, and Pfizer, as well as academic researchers from the top universities and research institutions in the nation.

Accelerating Cancer Cures is a unique collaboration between Damon Runyon, a prestigious cancer charity that supports the most innovative young cancer researchers, and leading biopharmaceutical companies. The goal of this multi-million dollar initiative is to rebuild the ranks of specially trained physician-scientists who conduct both the cutting-edge laboratory research to identify new therapeutics, as well as the clinical trials to bring these new treatments to patients. The companies involved in this initiative, while competitors in the marketplace, are committed to supporting the best young clinical investigators so that they can drive the next breakthroughs in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

The President and CEO of Millennium, Dr. Deborah Dunsire, opened the meeting with remarks that focused on the need for greater collaboration between industry and academia. Additionally, David Nathan, MD, President Emeritus, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and the Robert A. Stranahan Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, delivered a keynote address about the promise of cancer research and the critical role of patient-oriented physician-scientists in advancing progress against the many forms of cancer. Richard B. Gaynor, MD, Vice President, Cancer Research/Clinical Investigation, of Lilly, and Alan Leventhal, Chairman and CEO of Beacon Capital Partners and Chairman of the Board of the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, also spoke about this groundbreaking collaboration.

"It is extraordinary that industry competitors have come together to address a major obstacle to developing new treatments for cancer patients," said Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation President and CEO, Lorraine Egan. "Through Accelerating Cancer Cures, we are ensuring that the best young physician-scientists can continue to be the critical link between the research lab and the patients."

"The future of oncology research and the creation of novel treatments rests in the hands of talented scientific leaders like those who are presenting at this year's Accelerating Cancer Cures symposium, which Millennium is proud to host," stated Dr. Karen Ferrante, Chief Medical Officer, Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company. "This event underscores the importance of collaboration between the biopharmaceutical industry and its academic partners, and how these partnerships will ultimately create new cancer treatments for patients."

Scientists from the nation's leading research institutions, including the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Stanford University, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, attended the symposium to hear presentations on a diverse range of promising research, from advances in colorectal cancer detection to novel therapeutic approaches to breast cancers, and to brainstorm about new approaches to speed new treatments to cancer patients.
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About Accelerating Cancer Cures:

Accelerating Cancer Cures addresses the critical shortage of clinical researchers working on breakthroughs in cancer treatments and cures. Under the leadership of the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and with the support of industry and academia, this project fosters the talent desperately needed to accelerate breakthroughs in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Accelerating Cancer Cures is supported by some of the world's leading companies including: Eli Lilly and Company, ARIAD, Celgene, Genentech, Merck, Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company, and Pfizer. For more information, visit www.damonrunyon.org/accelerate.

About the Foundation:

To accelerate breakthroughs, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation provides today's best young scientists with funding to pursue innovative cancer research. The Foundation supports emerging leaders who have great potential to achieve breakthroughs in how we diagnose, treat and prevent cancer. Since its founding in 1946, Damon Runyon has invested over $260 million and funded more than 3,380 early career scientists.

100% of all donations to the Foundation are used to support scientific research. Its administrative and fundraising costs are paid from its Damon Runyon Broadway Tickets Service and endowment.

For more information visit http://www.damonrunyon.org.

Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation

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