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Cancer Research Institute Announces June Cancer Immunotherapy Awareness Month

1-800-FLOWERS.COM® and The Fund for Park Avenue to Support and Promote Awareness

NEW YORK (May 7, 2013) – The Cancer Research Institute (CRI) declares June “Cancer Immunotherapy Awareness Month” to increase awareness of cancer immunotherapy, a new class of cancer treatment that mobilizes the immune system to fight the disease and represents the most immediate hope for curing patients with any type of cancer.

Many members of the public are not aware of cancer immunotherapy’s ability to treat cancer and its potential to offer safer and more effective treatment options for all cancer patients. Cancer Immunotherapy Awareness Month will raise awareness of this sea change in cancer treatment, and enlist public support in helping to accelerate development of immunotherapies for patients with all types of cancer.

“For 60 years, CRI has remained steadfast in its dedication to realizing immunotherapy’s potential to treat and cure cancer,” said Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, Ph.D., chief executive officer and director of scientific affairs at the Cancer Research Institute. “Because of this work, today safe and powerful new immune-based treatment options are finally available, and we are dedicated to increasing awareness and support to bring them to more patients sooner.”

During the month of June, the Cancer Research Institute will host a series of free-to-the-public webinars each week in June (schedule below). The webinars will feature scientific experts who will share the latest news in cancer immunotherapy, including breakthrough new treatment strategies as well as challenges the field still faces in its attempts to optimize immune-based cancer therapies. Audience participants will be able to submit questions for the experts in a moderated Q&A session following the presentation.

On June 7, and every first Friday in June thereafter, CRI will promote “Wear White for a Cure Day” – white signifying immunotherapy’s power to treat all cancers. On this day, individuals including employees at companies are encouraged to wear white in support of efforts to speed cancer immunotherapy development. Participants can register for the event through the CRI website or via Facebook. Donors and fundraisers for the event will receive a wristband and T-shirt featuring CRI’s “I’Mmunotherapy and I’m curing cancer” slogan.

Throughout the month of June, 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, an official sponsor of CRI’s Cancer Immunotherapy Awareness Month, will feature a collection of white-themed flowers and gifts on its e-commerce sites, with 10 percent of the net proceeds from the sale of the items within the “Fight with White” floral collection to be donated to the Cancer Research Institute.

This summer, white flowers—Baby Dragon Wing begonias, specifically—will carpet the malls along Park Avenue from 54th to 86th Streets on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. According to Barbara McLaughlin, president of The Fund for Park Avenue, the not-for-profit organization that oversees the annual mall plantings, “the Fund is pleased that this year’s white begonias can play a role in CRI’s inaugural Cancer Immunotherapy Awareness Month.” The Park Avenue begonias are grown from seed each year by Van de Wetering Greenhouses in Jamesport, Long Island. A planting ceremony will be held on June 4th.

White also stands for new hope and new beginnings, O’Donnell-Tormey says. “Immune cells are also called white blood cells, and the scientists working to develop these revolutionary new treatments wear white lab coats, so white is a perfect color for cancer immunotherapy awareness.”

In preparation for Cancer Immunotherapy Awareness Month, the Cancer Research Institute has recently relaunched its website (www.cancerresearch.org) to provide more information to patients interested in learning more about cancer immunotherapy. In addition to pages describing how immunotherapy is impacting many different types of cancer, the CRI site also now features a cancer immunotherapy clinical trial finder, a valuable service that connects cancer patients to cutting-edge clinical studies of promising new immune-based cancer treatments.

“Our work at CRI is focused not only on fostering new discoveries by supporting laboratory research, but also on accelerating and optimizing development of immunotherapies for cancer,” said O’Donnell-Tormey. “One way we are helping the field move forward faster is to encourage more patients to consider enrolling in a cancer immunotherapy clinical trial by using our free trial finder service.”

To register for the webinars and for the June 7 “Wear White for a Cure Day” event, visit http://www.cancerresearch.org/fightwithwhite.

Webinar Schedule – All dates 2:00 p.m. ET:

  • June 4: Kunle Odunsi, M.D., Ph.D., Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY
  • June 10: Carl June, M.D., University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
  • June 18: Jedd Wolchok, M.D., Ph.D., Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY
  • June 25: Philip Greenberg, M.D., Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA

 

About the Cancer Research Institute
The Cancer Research Institute (CRI), established in 1953, is the world’s only nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to transforming cancer patient care by advancing scientific efforts to develop new and effective immune system-based strategies to prevent, diagnose, treat, and eventually cure all cancers. Guided by a world-renowned Scientific Advisory Council that includes three Nobel laureates and 26 members of the National Academy of Sciences, CRI has invested $263 million in support of research conducted by immunologists and tumor immunologists at the world’s leading medical centers and universities, and has contributed to many of the key scientific advances that demonstrate the potential for immunotherapy to change the face of cancer treatment. To learn more, go to www.cancerresearch.org

Media Contact

Brian M. Brewer
Director of Marketing and Communications

Cancer Research Institute
Phone: (212) 688-7515 x242
Fax: (212) 832-9376
Email: bbrewer@cancerresearch.org