This is the Canary approach, and it’s what makes it possible for us to maximize results in early cancer detection. Like a scrappy startup, we embrace investing early, failing forward, and continually pivoting to achieve success.
And where other foundations may have a single model for investment, we see our success as building a ‘self-sustaining platform’ that is enabling everything from world class research facilities to collaborations with academia and partnerships with industry to ongoing clinical programs, and successful spinouts of diagnostic companies. But our real success will be measured by the lives we ultimately save with breakthrough innovations in early cancer detection. The cancer fight—Canary is on it.
Review the Funding Strategy slide show to get a sense of how we approach innovation, and read more about our approach.
Canary funds small, short-term discovery projects for new ideas and technologies, and uses pilot data to gain an edge with government grants.
Canary funds large, multi-disciplinary teams that focus on a particular cancer, and clinical problem. Clinical trials are ongoing and are attracting industry investment to bring new diagnostics to patients.
The Listwin Family Foundation originated a Center of Excellence at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in 2012. Canary continues to fund research, and HUTCH now houses leadership for the prostate and ovarian cancer teams.
The Canary Center at Stanford, created in 2009, was the result of a groundbreaking Canary/Stanford University partnership and houses worldclass scientists from different disciplines.
The ultimate goal is to get new diagnostics to patients. This has begun in high-risk clinics nationally.
Funding New Ideas—New Ways of Thinking and Doing
We are all about the big idea in cancer research, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start small. Canary funds small, short-term discovery projects for new ideas and technologies.
The pilot data and other discoveries from these small projects give our scientists a competitive advantage in the government fund-raising process with grants from the National Institutes of Health, one of the world’s foremost medical research centers, and others. And it’s working.
Examples of these investments have included: ovarian cancer biomarker work; discovery of a gene mutation in pancreas cancer and gene fusion in ovarian cancer; the creation of a microbubble/ultrasound-based imaging technique; and the development of a magneto-nano sensor to detect biomarkers. In addition, we’ve created a photoacoustic device for prostate cancer, discovered novel biomarkers that define patients as high-risk and many other leading discoveries.
Multi-Disciplinary Teams Go Beyond Conventional Problem-Solving
What does a material scientist, mathematician, or software engineer know that a microbiologist, neuroscientist or oncologist might not? We aim to find out.
A critical differentiator of our approach is pulling together multi-disciplinary teams that approach cancer problems in new ways. Each team works with a practicing oncologist, focusing on a clinical problem, and many of these teams now have ongoing clinical trials underway.
For instance our lung cancer team is working to improve lung cancer screening for all people, regardless of smoking status, and to save lives by detecting otherwise lethal cancer early. The lung cancer team is collaborating with MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston on a clinical trial in which blood biomarker data is incorporated into the CT screening process for lung cancer.
And as an example of the cross-pollination of ideas, our ovarian cancer team is looking at adapting a photo acoustic imaging technique used for prostate cancer and reengineering it for use in ovarian cancer imaging.
Making the Right Investments, Achieving Excellence
When the Listwin Family Foundation began funding the work of an epidemiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the HUTCH, it was the beginning of what would become a Center of Excellence in early cancer detection, and the genesis of the Canary Foundation.
The Hutch remains a key part of the Canary Project, and is home to two of the program team leaders for prostate and ovarian cancer.
Breaking New Ground on University Collaborations
The Canary Center at Stanford was formed in 2009 with a $50-million, 10-year investment.
It is the model for future early cancer detection centers, and the first center in the world to integrate research in both in vivo and in vitro diagnostics to deliver these tests by housing state of the art core facilities and collaborative research programs in molecular imaging, proteomics, chemistry, and bioinformatics.
Spinning Out New Diagnostics Companies
As we spin out new diagnostic test companies, or medical device and imaging technology, we feel confident that the Canary funding platform and approach works. Commercial viability is the ultimate test. Canary-funded research is finding its way into commercialization.
Make the Right Investment in Cancer
We urge philanthropists, individuals and companies to get involved now and take action to support Canary’s early cancer detection strategies.
The Canary approach to funding research is stimulating industry investments in early cancer detection to bring tests to market that will safely identify and isolate cancer much earlier, more accurately, and more cost effectively. This makes the Canary solution the best possible investment for your funding dollars.