Changing the face of cancer treatment isn't easy. It takes time, money, an increasingly demanding level of expertise, and an enormous amount of hard work. But when you are passionate like we are about conquering cancer, you'll do whatever it takes.
We are motivated by a very simple but important scientific fact: the human body has the ability to defend itself from cancer. Our founding scientists believed that the key to longterm survival lay in learning how to manipulate the immune system to strengthen its defenses against cancer. We set out more than 60 years ago not only to prove this could be done, but also to do something with this knowledge that would truly help cancer patients.
Today, after decades of basic laboratory research to reveal the secrets of our own immune system, we now have the power and the means to put this hard-earned knowledge to the test. Here's how we do it.
Advancing Clinical Science to Get Cures to Patients Faster
Cancer patients are in desperate need of new treatment options. We work to find the most promising new immune-based cancer treatments and bring them into the clinic where patients can access them. For many of these patients, our immunotherapies are their only remaining hope for survival.
Recent breakthroughs in immune-based cancer treatment have led to an unprecedented growth in the number of immunotherapies now in clinical development. With so many promising options now available, we recognized our unique role as the nonprofit leader in this field positioned us to innovate how nonprofit-sponsored and -funded clinical trials could be conducted.
First we partnered with another nonprofit, the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, to establish the CVC, a global clinical trials network focused on cancer immunotherapy trials. More recently, we have begun to partner with biotech and pharmaceutical companies to bring their promising new treatments into the CVC Trials Network.
Together with the Ludwig Institute, we supply funding and clinical trials expertise to our partners, incentivizing them to bring treatments to cancer patients sooner, and shortening the time it takes to create optimal immune-based therapies for patients will all types of cancer.
Funding Basic Science to Discover New Treatments
We have proudly supported basic scientific research on the immune system and cancer since our founding in 1953. This work is the foundation of the entire field. Exploring open-ended questions is a proven way to go beyond what we already know and find what we didn't know we needed to know next.
Our first aim is to more fully understand the fundamental principles of tumor immunology. To do this, our scientists explore the basic components of the immune system, seeking answers to questions like how the immune system recognizes cancer, how cancer evades immune attack, and how the anti-cancer attack is coordinated at the cellular, genetic, and molecular levels.
Our second aim is to facilitate the translation of this knowledge into clinical application as rapidly as possible, as well as to bring clinical data back into the laboratory. We have established new bridges connecting the lab and the clinic, providing funding to support integrated studies aimed at creating and refining promising new immune-based cancer therapies.
Third, we seek the best talent in the field, recruiting young scientists and graduate students and focusing their skills and imagination on helping us achieve our mission to conquer all cancers through immunotherapy. Our decision more than 40 years ago to attract and support emerging scientific leaders has ensured a steady stream of expertise in tumor immunology. This, in turn, has directly led to many of the new immune-based cancer treatments that are now revolutionizing cancer patient care.
Convening the Field's Leaders to Spur Innovation and Collaboration
The rate of discovery is increasing exponentially, producing an enormous amount of new data and insights each year. We help experts in the field stay on top of the latest findings, going beyond the peer-reviewed journals by facilitating face-to-face interactions in conferences and meetings we organize each year.
These conferences strengthen connections between field leaders and provide valuable opportunities to probe data in depth with the scientists directly working on the problem. They also offer unique opportunities for emerging young scientists to interact with top researchers.
We also convene smaller working groups, often extending across international borders, bringing field experts together to discuss and solve key questions and establish new methodologies and best practices for fellow scientists.
For those scientists who cannot attend our conferences in person, we invite them to subscribe and contribute to our free online academic journal, which provides cutting-edge reports from laboratories and clinics around the world.
Partnering with Other Nonprofits to Maximize Impact
Actively seeking out collaboration with other nonprofits is an essential component of our mission strategy. As the recognized experts in tumor immunology, we offer a great deal of knowledge to our prospective partners.
This is especially attractive to cancer-specific charities that are focused on one kind of cancer. These organizations are increasingly realizing the enormous promise that immunotherapy holds for their particular patient groups. As they expand their clinical programs to encompass more immunotherapy trials, they look to us as experts in this area, and work with us to find ways to collaborate.
As a result of our willingness to share our resources, including funding and expertise, we have partnered with several leading cancer charities to bring immunotherapies to more patients. This brings us in front of new patient groups, establishes successful models for nonprofit-nonprofit cooperation that increase efficiencies and maximize impact, and helps to further the development of immune-based treatments.
Recognizing and Honoring Scientific Breakthroughs
Great achievements in science should not go unnoticed. In an age where celebrities and professional athletes dominate the media's attention, we believe it is important to raise up the scientific and philanthropic heroes who have devoted their lives and resources to improving the lives of cancer patients.
Each year we honor outstanding scientific leaders whose significant discoveries fundamentally advanced cancer immunology research. We also honor individuals who, through their philanthropic efforts or in their role as leader of a company commited to cancer research, have directly contributed to advances in cancer treatment through charitable support, biomedical innovation, or awareness raising.
By calling attention the heroes of cancer research, we hope to inspire other scientists to strive to achieve the remarkable and motivate more corporate leaders and philanthropists to embrace our mission.