Industry leaders join together for historic Accelerating Cancer Cures Research Symposium

March 6th, 2012
Today, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation held its first Accelerating Cancer Cures Research Symposium, focused on rebuilding the ranks of physician-scientists specially trained to translate laboratory discoveries into new cancer therapies. The event, held at Pfizer Inc headquarters, brought together academic scientists and other leading pharmaceutical companies, including Eli Lilly and Company, Celgene, Genentech, Merck, and Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company.

The symposium is the first of its kind since Damon Runyon, a New York-based foundation, launched its Accelerating Cancer Cures program in June 2011. Accelerating Cancer Cures is a five-year, multi-million dollar project that will train a new generation of exceptional clinical investigators capable of translating the latest scientific discoveries into new diagnostics and therapeutics for cancer patients. The initiative also eliminates barriers to progress by fostering communication and collaboration between academia and industry. It is supported by some of the world's leading companies and The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

"We risk losing tremendous ground in our effort to find cures for cancer if we cannot attract new talent and new ideas to clinical research," said Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation President and CEO Lorraine Egan when the program launched. "Our best hope for crucial breakthroughs to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer lies with the committed young scientists who will be able to pursue critical translational research thanks to this effort."

Scientists from the nation's leading research institutions, including the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Mayo Clinic, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, traveled to New York to attend.

Pfizer Vice President Jamey R. Skillings, MD, MSc, MBA, led a discussion on targeted therapies for cancer, and Celgene Vice President Rajesh Chopra, MD, PhD, chaired a session on immunotherapies. They were joined by twenty Damon Runyon-funded scientists.

The day ended with a panel discussion, moderated by Damon Runyon Chief Scientific Officer Yung S. Lie, PhD, about navigating the boundaries between industry and academia and overcoming barriers to collaboration and translational research.

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Provided by Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation

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