Eric Rosenthal Reports

Thoughts and observations about issues, trends, and controversies in the cancer community.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Standing Up To Cancer Across the Pond


As the two-week countdown to Stand Up To Cancer’s (SU2C) Sept. 7 telecast continues, parallel efforts abroad are also in the works.


Although international audiences have been able to view the 2008 and 2010 events from Hollywood via broadcast or cable feeds and will have the capability again, independent telecasts from the United Kingdom in October and the Netherlands in November will showcase science and entertainment to raise funds for translational cancer research in their respective nations.


“Funding cancer research is global,” Sung Poblete, PhD, RN, SU2C president and CEO said during a telephone interview, “and it is gratifying to see other older organizations adapt the research model and approach of our four-and-a-half year old effort.”


Earlier this week Cancer Research UK and Channel 4 announced they would be launching SU2C in the UK on Oct. 19, and that the US version’s co-executive producer, Gwyneth Paltrow, would participate in a September launch event in London. SU2C cofounder Kathleen Lobb noted, however, that Paltrow will not be able to appear in the UK show itself, because of a filming conflict.


Cancer Research UK is a cancer charity “dedicated to saving lives though research” though funding from the public.


Channel 4 is a publicly owned, commercially funded, public service broadcaster.


SU2C UK will be preceded by a week of events culminating in the on-air show that will raise funds specifically toward clinical research in the UK, with 20% supporting UK-US collaborative research to develop new treatments to benefit patients in the UK, according to a news release.


The Dutch Cancer Society (KWF Kankerbestrijding) in cooperation with Stand Up To Cancer USA, and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), SU2C’s scientific partner, will air its third “Sta Op Tegen Kanker” telecast in three years.


“KWF first approached us in 2008 but we didn’t have sufficient bandwidth at that time to accommodate them,” said Lobb, adding that Cancer Research UK began talking about collaborating last year.


“KWF is using the events to raise money for cancer research from its proceeds, and it’s interesting to watch how someone else essentially took the model of our show and tweaked it to make it relevant for their own audience,” she said.


Sta Op’s efforts have begun to pay off with the announcement this month of the recipients of a new four-year $1.4 million International Translational Cancer Research Grant for research efforts to investigate DNA-guided personalized cancer treatment approaches.

Emile E. Voest, MD, PhD, head of the Department of Medical Oncology at the University Medical Center (UMC) Utrecht in the Netherlands, and René Bernards, PhD, head of the Division of Molecular Carcinogenesis at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, will lead the research project on behalf of the Dutch Center for Personalized Cancer Treatment, a collaborative effort of the three largest cancer centers in the Netherlands: the Netherlands Cancer Institute, Erasmus MC, and UMC Utrecht.

The proposals were reviewed by the Dutch Cancer Society Scientific Council in cooperation with SU2C’s Scientific Advisory Committee, said Poblete, who characterized the research model as a hybrid between Stand Up’s awards to Dream Teams and those made to young investigators with innovative research projects.