Stopping Cancer Early – The Best Possible Investment


Canary Innovation: Measurable Progress, Real Results

June 4, 2012

Here at Canary Foundation, one of our highest priorities is building a culture of innovation, which we leverage to produce results, save time and lower costs. Both our scientific programs and administrative initiatives reflect these disciplines. We’re proud to report that this approach is helping Canary demonstrate real results in the work we do:

  • Canary Foundation developed the first test for a new lung cancer biomarker identified by the team. While tests exist for other biomarkers, there were none for this one, so the team created a test that is now available for any research institution to utilize.
  • Our prostate cancer clinical trial called PASS (Prostate Active Surveillance Study) is the only multisite clinical trial for men on active surveillance.  This way of organizing a trial is now being recognized as the most viable way of conducting trials to monitor men with localized, low-risk prostate cancer.
  • Canary Foundation’s Tissue Microarray (TMA) project has also led the way in scientific research. Digitized tissue images and a standardized way to conduct digital analyses were the innovations that provide researchers with an online way of sharing and analyzing data that is not the norm in scientific research.
  • The Canary Center at Stanford for cancer early detection is the first in the world studying the two-test process of identifying cancer through a blood test and pinpointing the location of the tumor through molecular imaging.
  • The magneto-nano sensor developed here at Stanford University is more than 1000 times more powerful than existing assays. Canary Foundation at the Canary Center will be the first to use this testing method for blood and fluid samples from clinical trials.
  • Canary’s study using enhanced ultrasound to image ovarian cancer is now the subject of a clinical trial. A project such as this would normally go unnoticed, but Canary supporters funded it when it was a just a small research project. Now enhanced ultrasound is the subject of a clinical trial and is close to receiving FDA approval to study its use in patients.
  • A final example of innovation is Canary’s use of models to understand how best to improve existing cancer detection methods. This type of analysis is common to business but not academic research. In a 2-year study, Canary Ovarian team members modeled the cost-effectiveness of ovarian cancer screening using currently available tests and explored how new tests could improve cost-effectiveness. The group found that among women with average risk of ovarian cancer, annual screening with a CA125 blood test and traditional ultrasound results in a 13% mortality reduction compared to no screening. Improving the performance of both CA125 and ultrasound via the inclusion of additional blood biomarkers and the use of the molecular or enhanced ultrasound increases the mortality reduction to 25% while maintaining acceptable cost.

We’re so pleased to have the opportunity to report this progress to you- our hope is to continue garnering support for our initiatives. If you have questions about our innovation model or the Canary approach, we welcome you to contact one of our team members to learn more.