Stopping Cancer Early – The Best Possible Investment
Why Canary, Why Now
No one gets time back. And for those with cancer and their families, that can be devastating. The Canary Foundation has started to do something about that. Founded in 2004 by Don Listwin after he lost his mother to misdiagnosed ovarian cancer, he envisioned a world of simple and safe tests that could identify and isolate cancer at its earliest, most curable stage.
Today, more than 10 years later, the Canary Foundation has raised more than $64 million to support early detection research, and has funded more than 38 research projects at 24 institutions including two international sites. And we’ve moved faster than science typically moves, from theory to tractable problem to clinical use in many areas, thanks to Canary’s collaborative approach. Canary is the world’s first non-profit organization dedicated solely to the funding, discovery, and development of tests for early cancer detection. The earlier, the better is the way we see it.
The Canary Foundation is based on a results-only business approach and cross-disciplinary collaborations and partnerships with renowned researchers, scientists and global institutions such as the Canary Center at Stanford and the Center of Excellence at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center—two centers that the Canary Foundation was instrumental in creating. We are building a cancer-detection platform that promises to be the answer to next- generation cancer care worldwide. By reorienting research toward early detection, we believe great advances in cancer research will finally take place, and save untold lives and resources while improving quality of life worldwide.
Our Cancer Calling—Biomarkers and Imaging
Early detection saves lives. There’s no debate. So what if someday soon, cancer screening was as simple as a urine or blood test or an inexpensive imaging test at your annual doctor’s appointment? Signs of cancer could be exposed before they technically became cancer. And treatment would be so minor, you might even forget you ever had it. That’s the world we envision. We want early cancer detection tests to be commonplace—and always the first line of defense for cancer.
To achieve our goals, our science research is focused on a two-prong diagnostic strategy: Blood-based biomarkers and molecular imaging. We’re discovering blood-based biomarkers or biological ‘fingerprints’ that show the presence or progress of a disease. These will identify individuals who are likely to have cancer. We’re pairing those biomarkers with advanced molecular imaging to pinpoint and verify a specific cancer type. These new imaging technologies will not only help us visualize a cancer type with more sensitivity and specificity but also help us differentiate benign and malignant disease.
Our clinical programs today cover tumors across five cancer types: breast, lung, ovarian, pancreatic and prostate cancer. And to give us the big thinking required for this big goal, we’ve designed our research programs to encourage the collaboration of multiple disciplines such as material science, engineering, biology, computer science and technology, and, of course, biology and medicine at institutions around the world. We believe that all of these disciplines have critical thinking to contribute.
Review our timeline to see what we’ve accomplished so far in just 10 years. We have teams of researchers creating innovations such as the magneto-nano sensor developed to measure blood bio-markers for prostate cancer. This device is 10,000 times more sensitive than existing tests. Another innovation is Canary’s novel Microbubble Project that uses an enhanced ultrasound-based imaging technique, recently approved by the FDA. And we have numerous clinical studies underway and planned, and other collaborations with academia and industry.
Early cancer detection just makes sense in quality of life, in economic impact, in societal impact. The National Cancer Institute estimates that one in two men will get cancer in their lifetime, and one in three women. We aren’t waiting any longer, the time for action is now. We hope you’ll join us in our early cancer detection revolution.
We are very grateful to the Canary Foundation for this gift establishing the Canary Center at Stanford for Cancer Early Detection.
It will enable researchers to focus on early discovery, saving lives and benefiting many in the greater community.
President of Stanford