Posts Tagged ‘early detection cancer funding’
March 8, 2021
The International Alliance for Cancer Early Detection (ACED) joins researchers from the United States and the United Kingdom in a $70 million partnership. Founded in 2019, ACED is a partnership with the Canary Center at Stanford University, CRUK, the University of Cambridge, the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), University College London and the University of Manchester. The following is one study chosen for it’s innovative approach to early detection:
Stratifying Risk for Early Detection in Hereditary Breast and Ovarian cancer
Project Award, led by: Marc Tischkowitz, University of Cambridge; Allison Kurian, Canary Center at Stanford for Cancer Early Detection; and Gareth Evans, University of Manchester. Stanford Team: Allison Kurian, Alice Fan, James Ford
CanRisk is a cancer risk assessment tool which combines genetic, lifestyle, clinical and imaging data to calculate an individual risk estimate for women with high-risk mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2. The ability to provide personalized cancer risk estimates will identify women at particularly high risk. Currently, the ranges of cancer risk estimates for women with hereditary mutations in breast cancer genes are wide and not personalized, so all women are given the same figures. Creating a customized approach can solve this problem.
By implementing personalized risk estimates, early detection strategies can be tailored for the individual, therefore identifying those at the highest risk. Once feasibility is assessed, women undergoing predictive testing for BRCA1, BRCA2, PALB2, ATM or CHEK2 in US and UK genetics centers will be randomized to conventional vs personalized risk estimate based on genetic/lifestyle/hormonal modifiers.
October 7, 2020
The Ovarian team has used these past months to hone and polish the infrastructure for the High Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer Initiative and to ensure that high quality molecular data can be generated from the samples. This includes both the pilot project that focuses on changes in the micro-environment, and the retrospective study that looks back at tissue.
Focus of the project
Our focus is to define the role of the fallopian tube micro-environment in the development of high grade serous ovarian cancer (fallopian tube being the most common ovarian cancer), with the ultimate objective to find targets for prevention and markers of early disease onset for early detection.
In order to develop a robust and innovative research plan, we invited a multidisciplinary team of roughly 25 world class ovarian cancer researchers from across the US and Canada to an initial two day planning meeting in March 2019 in Los Gatos, California. The meeting was highly successful. The number of promising ideas exceeded our available funding level. Over the ensuing months the Executive Committee worked to refine and finalize our research proposal and also put in place the necessary infrastructure to conduct our studies.
What problem is the team trying to solve? Our overall plan includes a series of innovate pilot studies specifically designed to demonstrate the power of our team and generate preliminary data that can be leveraged to compete for large grants by the end of a two year period. The research will be performed in two phases: first, a retrospective phase that involves analysis of previously collected, banked fallopian tube samples with associated clinical information, and second, a prospective study, that includes newly collected samples, each with the goal of identifying what changes in the molecular landscape signal cancer.
Our progress March – Summer 2020. During these past months, the team has finalized the infrastructure for the pilot program and has worked to ensure that the expected high quality molecular data from our samples can be achieved. The process for sample sharing has been completed. Additionally, reviews, discussions, and decisions have been held to work out a draft of the high-quality protocol necessary for all team members to follow. 6 potential sites have been identified. We are testing our data management processes. This includes a portal for sharing and annotating data among multiple investigators and analysts. Canary Foundation has experience in this field.
Next steps: the in-person clinical aspect of the pilot will resume when each of the participating sites are reopened. When further steps in reopening allow, clinical sites will be responsible for providing patient samples and annotated clinical and pathologic data in a timely and cost-effective way. Each site includes a collaborative PI who has a robust system in place for conducting translational research studies, banking samples and linking clinical information.
Additionally, steps are being taken to identify and put in place a central project manager. An interim plan is in place utilizing resources at the University of Pennsylvania.
Clinical data and sample coordination center: The University of Pennsylvania leader is Michael Feldman. We are working with the team at UPenn to write sample protocols and requirements and to finalize the overall collaboration agreement that will be signed by all institutions. The coordinating center will receive samples from clinical sites, perform quality control, and prepare and ship samples to molecular profiling sites. The center will also maintain the clinical database of participants linked to their sample information. The clinical data will be linked later to the molecular data for each of the samples and participants.
Clinical teams: when further steps in reopening allow, clinical sites will be responsible for providing patient samples and annotated clinical and pathologic data in a timely and cost-effective way.
Molecular profiling sites: Molecular analyses will include bulk RNA and DNA sequencing, global methylome profiling, proteomics with spatial profiling, single cell analyses using the Nanostring DSP platforms.
Data management and analysis center: We have multiple types of data that need to be securely stored and annotated. We are using a similar structure to that used by the large NIH-funded effort, TCGA. Raw data will be hosted in the data center managed by Adam Olshen at UCSF. We will run data analysis pipelines and upload processed data into a program that will function as a portal for sharing and annotating data among multiple investigators and analysts. Canary Foundation has experience in this field.
Shaping bioinformatics. Our leadership and analysis team leaders are enthusiastic about working together using Synapse and the Sage engineers. The associated infrastructure and analysis plan from our bioinformaticians Adam Olshen (UCSF) and
Hui Shen (Van Andel) has been reviewed and approved by the group.
Checking our system.
- Testing of infrastructure and logistics with a small set of samples will include:
- Assessing technical issues
- Management of resources
- Rapid course correction procedures
- Generating first data set
- Send samples through the pipeline (10 BRCA mutation carriers)
- Check quality control measures on data set
Working as a team. Part of the strategy is to demonstrate our ability to work together and generate data so that we are able to apply for additional support from external agencies (e.g. government or foundations). The team is actively making connections to seek out the best funding opportunities as part of our future plan, and the breadth of expertise in the team and their ability to work well together go a long way in securing future funding.
Remembering Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, MD, PhD, Stanford University Radiology Chair, Director of the Canary Center at Stanford for Cancer Early Detection
August 4, 2020
Sam’s image: forever in our hearts.
November 23, 1962 – July 18, 2020
“The body is a mystery.” This is something you don’t expect to hear from a distinguished worldwide leading expert in radiology, who developed cutting edge imaging tests to spot disease early inside the body using new and repurposed technologies in highly innovative ways. You would think such a person would tout how much we do know. And yet, this is exactly what we would hear from our good friend and guide Sanjiv Sam Gambhir. He believed that the reason cancer seemed to take so many different characteristics in each individual person was because we know so little about the body. It was times like this you would be moved by just how humble Sam was. Add to that just how important Sam has been to Canary Foundation’s mission, and you understand why we will miss him as a beloved partner and visionary for cancer early detection.
We met Sam during the first year Don Listwin founded Canary Foundation in 2004. Don had lost his mother several years before to misdiagnosed ovarian cancer and had decided to use his time and resources to try to impact the common problem of misdiagnosis. Don and cancer research Nobel Laureate Lee Hartwell had earlier conversations about cancer being an engineering problem, where answers were out there but not being brought together to sensible resolution. Canary Foundation went on to develop multi-institutional, multi-disciplined teams providing them with start-up funds to work together towards common goals. They then gather enough results to attract further funding from larger grantors and the government.
Sam filled a vital role in the “workflow” as an imaging expert, and much more. He helped solidify our mission to develop tests to curb cancer deaths by finding tumors early, then isolating their location through imaging, followed by removal or targeted treatment. He quickly became the leader of the science teams using his expert skills in convening the lead researchers in the field.
What was it about Sam that made his complex science and vision understandable? Sam was relaxed as he described a full and brilliant universe of information, knowing exactly what metaphors to use to get his ideas across. For instance, Sam eagerly described his work in imaging as using “molecular spies” that could sleuth out cancer tumors, then send back a signal that greatly enhanced a physician’s ability to “spot” the cancer in the imaging.
Sam laughed easily and liked to poke good humored fun at his colleagues. He was mild mannered and didn’t jockey for the spotlight as one with his level of mastery might. He liked pop music and was genuinely interested in what you had to say. While none of this is written in leadership training books, it all worked well in moving the science forward.
In 2008, Canary Foundation and Stanford University signed partnership papers that sealed the deal on an agreement where both institutions would bring resources to create the Canary Center at Stanford for Cancer Early Detection. Sam led Stanford and kept his eye on the potential that would become the first worldwide center focused on cancer early detection. The Canary Center opened doors in 2009 and would grow to attract world-class researchers. We have accomplished much with Sam at our side. Canary Foundation has since mentored those working on opening international centers at Cambridge United Kingdom and the University of Calgary, Canada. Our annual symposium, the first of its kind that attracted young and seasoned researchers to a collaborative forum, has become, with Sam’s help, a prestigious multi-institutional event now organized by national and global partners.
Sam’s big strategy, like Canary Foundation’s, has always been to mentor both new and seasoned scientists. His lab and the Canary Center have been a dynamic place of productivity, exchange, energy and solution-based translational research. The seeds of his work will continue to grow and flourish by those he has taught and inspired.
Sam has been an extraordinary partner. “It is amazing what you can accomplish through collaboration,” Sam said just last September at the Early Detection of Cancer Conference. We wholeheartedly agree.
All of this is to say, Sam has been a good friend to Canary Foundation and a visionary of a bright future for helping those with a cancer diagnosis.
The world will not be the same without him.
Canary’s new: High Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer Initiative. HGSOC is the most common and lethal form of ovarian cancer.
February 4, 2020
Ovarian cancer remains the most lethal gynecologic malignancy in the United States. In 2018, over 22,000 new cases were diagnosed and 14,000 women lost their lives to the disease.
Ovarian cancer is made up of distinct subtypes. High grade serous ovarian carcinoma is 70% of cases, and is the most lethal subtype accounting for over 60% of ovarian cancer deaths.
People who have inherited mutations in BRCA genes are at higher risk for certain types of cancer, including HGSOC. In looking very carefully at the fallopian tubes removed from BRCA mutation carriers, the discovery was made that the fallopian tube was a site of origin for HGSOC – not the ovary itself, but the fallopian tube. This understanding over the past 15 years represents a paradigm shift in the origin of the HGSOC and opportunity for us to better understand how the cancer develops and design better strategies for early detection and prevention.
80% of HGSOC are diagnosed at a late stage!
We want to eliminate deaths from HGSOC by early detection and prevention.
There are currently no effective methods for early detection for ovarian cancer. Substantial progress has been made in identifying the putative precursor lesions for ovarian cancers.
Our focus is to define the role of the fallopian tube microenvironment in the development of high grade serous ovarian cancer, with the ultimate objective to find targets for prevention and markers of early disease onset for early detection. We are tackling the problem from multiple directions to ensure the greatest probability of success.
It is unclear which precursor lesions are likely to progress and/or be associated with invasive disease. A critical knowledge gap is how the various constituents of the fallopian tube microenvironment impact tumor development or progression.
Achieving our goals requires a multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary effort. The team we assembled is made up of gynecologic oncologists, molecular biologists, epidemiologists, pathologists and bioinformaticians. The team is world class and has the requisite expertise to capitalize on complementary molecular profiling. Our research plan leverages powerful, broad-based discovery approaches to tackle this difficult challenge of early detection.
Dr. Heidi Aumen explains more:
December 4, 2013
Canary Foundation’s progress continues to be on a rapid path. Through prestigious partnerships, research, and clinical trials with quantifiable results, Canary Foundation is funding early detection research that will save lives and permanently change the landscape of cancer diagnostics. People like you have made this progress possible.
In 2013, our partnership with Stanford University expanded and we moved into our new state-of-the-art Canary Center at Stanford to continue our work realizing early detection solutions.
We are pleased to share a new video featuring our high points. We thought this was a great way to reflect on key ideas Canary was founded upon that have become reality. We invite you to view our 5-minute Canary Foundation video!
When you and your family make giving decisions this holiday, we ask that make cancer early detection a priority. Please give generously.
November 14, 2013
About one man in six will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. Most men diagnosed with prostate cancer will not die from it. With screening, we’re doing better at identifying prostate cancer early. But now, the clinical question is: with a prostate cancer diagnosis, do we treat, or is treatment not necessary?
Treating prostate cancer when it’s not necessary exposes men to potential side effects—including incontinence and impotence– of aggressive treatment like surgery. This is known as overtreatment. We need better tools to differentiate aggressive prostate cancer from non-aggressive prostate cancer to guide these decisions.
In 2007, the Canary prostate team decided to focus on this important clinical question. How will we distinguish lethal from non-lethal prostate cancer? Identifying the difference early on will save lives. New tools will also help end unnecessary biopsies and overtreatment.
By 2008, the team launched a clinical trial called PASS, the Prostate Active Surveillance Study. Men with early stage, localized, low-risk prostate cancer can enroll and have their cancer closely monitored for signs of progression. This process is called active surveillance. The trial’s goal is to manage low-risk prostate cancer through active surveillance while identifying markers to distinguish non-aggressive prostate cancer from potentially lethal disease.
The PASS trial has been running smoothly, and in October 2013, the PASS Trial reached another major milestone when the 1,000th man was enrolled in the trial.
We are so grateful for Canary Foundation supporters, who provided funding early on for this work. They recognized that the project was underfunded and important. We’re also extremely thankful to the men who participated in the trial for contributing tens of thousands of samples to prostate cancer early detection research. Thank you!
November 7, 2013
Recently, Canary Foundation and Stanford embarked on a collaboration with the MD Anderson Cancer Center, working together on a large-scale initiative to improve the screening process of lung cancer for earlier detection of this lethal disease.
The Canary lung cancer team leader, Dr. Sam Hanash, was recruited to the MD Anderson Cancer Center, which launched an ambitious Moon Shots Program aimed at rapidly and significantly reducing mortality in several major cancers. Lung cancer is currently the leading cause of cancer deaths.
As part of Moon Shots program, lung cancer physicians and researchers are initiating a screening study to improve screening for lung cancer. The goal is to recruit 10,000 individuals in the U.S., and to partner with international sites, including China and Germany, to conduct studies with an additional 10,000 patients. Canary will be joining forces with MD Anderson, combining CT scan technology and biomarker research to better interpret screening results.
These clinical trials represent the next phase of Canary research, taking the progress we’ve made in the lab and testing it in a larger clinical setting.
October 29, 2013
Photo: The clinical trial coordinators for the Canary Prostate Active Surveillance Study (PASS) accept the 2013 Canary Award on behalf of the Canary Prostate Team.
Dr. Dianne Miller was presented with the award for her team’s success in promoting adoption of ovarian cancer prevention programs throughout the Canadian province of British Columbia. Because lethal ovarian cancer often originates in fallopian tubes, their removal can prevent the development of ovarian cancer, potentially reducing the incidence by 50% or more. Since the advent of the British Columbia educational campaign in September 2010, clinics across the province have seen a practice shift toward removal of fallopian tubes during common gynecological surgeries (such as hysterectomy and tubal ligation), thanks to the efforts of Dr. Miller’s team.
The Canary Prostate team was presented with the Canary Award for the team’s success in meeting or exceeding all of its major milestones in the Prostate Active Surveillance Study (PASS) clinical trial. Earlier in the month of October, 2013, the PASS trial celebrated reaching another major milestone, as the 1,000th participant was enrolled in the trial. The trial’s goal is to manage low-risk prostate cancer through active surveillance while identifying markers to distinguish non-aggressive prostate cancer from potentially lethal disease.
Congratulations to both teams for all their hard work, and to all the Canary teams who work tirelessly to develop research and solutions to make accessible cancer early detection a reality.
October 7, 2013
In the United States, it is estimated that there will be 232,340 new breast cancer cases and 39,620 breast cancer mortalities in 2013. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. Despite the widespread use of mammography, the technology is limited as many cancers are missed and conversely many women undergo biopsies and surgeries of benign or non-aggressive tumors.
Canary Foundation is supporting a Breast Cancer Early Detection Initiative focused on finding blood-based and imaging biomarkers to improve the current state of breast cancer early detection. The vision of the blood work is to distinguish women with benign versus malignant tumors, and to identify the aggressive, hard to detect, breast cancers. The vision of the imaging work is to detect breast cancer at the earliest stages, when the tumors are very small.
Canary is committed to funding safe, efficient, cost effective tests for cancer early detection.
October 3, 2013
This past weekend, 800 cyclists converged at VMware village to kick off Canary Challenge 2013, a great increase over the number of riders from last year! Over $800,000 was raised to benefit cancer research at the Stanford Cancer Institute and Canary Center for Cancer Early Detection at Stanford.
There were a total of 78 teams participating, with over 120 volunteers cheering, manning registration, and passing out drinks and snacks to replenish riders along the route. Most incredible was the great energy at the event – participants’ dedication and commitment to the cause was palpable, and the celebratory air when cyclists returned triumphant from their rides was electric.
We loved when riders stopped by the social photo booth to show us “#WhyIRideCanary”. Everyone who contributed to the event did so because they were inspired by the need for cancer early detection research. It was incredible to hear their stories – a great reminder of why we ride.
A great thank you to all the riders, sponsors, volunteers and staff who came together on September 28 to make this ride such a great success. Ride on, Canary Challenge participants! Save the date for next year: September 27, 2014!