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    Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, pioneer in molecular imaging, Director of the Canary Center at Stanford for Cancer Early Detection, dies at 57

    July 21, 2020

    From Stanford University News:

    Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, MD, PhD, professor and chair of radiology at the Stanford School of Medicine and an internationally recognized pioneer in molecular imaging, died July 18 of cancer. He was 57.  He was a global leader in advancing techniques for molecular imaging and early cancer detection.

    Below is the message that Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the School of Medicine, shared with the community on July 18.

    Dear Colleagues,It is with a heavy heart that I write to inform you that Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, MD, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Radiology at Stanford University School of Medicine, passed away this morning.

    Words cannot express what an immense loss this is personally, for our Stanford community, and for the field of medicine. 

    Sam was an uncommonly talented physician-scientist. As the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor in Cancer Research and director of the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford (MIPS), Sam earned international recognition as a pioneer of molecular imaging. He authored nearly 700 peer-reviewed articles, several books, filed for 40 patents, and his lab’s work has been featured on dozens of journal covers. But Sam was most proud to see many of his discoveries translate to the clinic, which today benefit patients around the globe. 

    To many of us, however, Sam was much more: a dear friend. His kindness, sense of humor, and graceful way with people were among his defining qualities and will be sorely missed by those who knew him. 

    I first met Sam in 2012 when he was serving as co-chair of the search committee that selected me to be Dean. It was then that I immediately understood why he is so revered at Stanford Medicine and across the university. As a leader and as a person, Sam exemplified through his life the best of Stanford and the highest values to which we aspire. 

    Many of us witnessed Sam’s courage and tenacity during the 21 months that he and his wife Aruna fought for the life of their son Milan, who passed away in 2015 at the age of sixteen. Sam understood the fragility of human health and worked every day to apply his genius to research focused on diagnosing disease in its earliest and most treatable stages.

    Sam was an advocate for precision health long before it was popularized. In recent years, he dedicated his life to the early detection of cancer as director of the Canary Center for Cancer Early Detection at Stanford. In 2016, he established the Precision Health and Integrated Diagnostics (PHIND) Center to help create the future he envisioned for health care—a world in which technologies continuously monitor our health to keep us healthy.

    Throughout his prolific career, he mentored more than 150 postdoctoral fellows and graduate students. These leaders, representing more than ten disciplines, will carry on his legacy.

    I hope that we may come together as a community, virtually and in spirit, to support each other during this difficult time and to share our memories of Sam—a scientific visionary, a trusted mentor, a beloved colleague and friend.

    In lieu of flowers, the Gambhir family prefers donations to the PHIND Center, the Canary Center for Cancer Early Detection at Stanford, the Ben and Catherine Ivy Foundation, or The Sanjiv Sam Gambhir Professorship in Translational Medicine.

    Sincerely,
    Lloyd Minor

    Canary’s Prostate Active Surveillance Study (PASS) receives $6.7M NCI grant to support growth of the multi-center study!

    December 2, 2019

    PASS was established in 2008 with funding from the Canary Foundation, demonstrating how we invest in promising early research!

    “PASS was launched with six participating centers in 2008,” said PASS Deputy Director Dr. Lisa Newcomb, a Hutch cancer prevention researcher. “With this grant, we’ll be up to 11 sites. Fred Hutch is the centralized repository — specimens are sent to the Hutch from all the sites — and we have procedures for sharing the data and the specimens among the group [members] and with other researchers.”

    The grant is designed to support the infrastructure of the PASS cohort, including the collection of follow-up data, management of the database and management of the biospecimen repository.

    PASS participants are all early-stage prostate cancer patients who chose active surveillance, not immediate surgery or radiation, to manage their cancer. In active surveillance, patients receive regular PSA (prostate-specific antigen) testing, biopsies and digital-rectal exams to monitor whether the cancer grows or becomes more aggressive.

    According to research, more than 30% of men have slow-growing prostate cancer and won’t necessarily benefit from radical treatments that can cause debilitating side effects such as urinary incontinence and impotence. Data from patients with early-stage prostate cancers who choose active surveillance can provide key insights into who’s most at risk from their cancers, and when.

    Using the cohort for risk-prediction modeling, Newcomb said, could help “determine who either harbors or will progress to a bad cancer, which cancers are aggressive and which really aren’t.”

    “We want to help identify the men who can go home and not worry about their cancer. We’re looking at both ends of the spectrum — making active surveillance less active and identifying the people who will benefit from treatment early.”  – Dr. Lisa Newcomb

    “We are thrilled,” said Newcomb regarding the transition from Canary Foundation support to NCI funding.

    Fred Hutch has had a longstanding relationship with the Canary Foundation and has been the recipient of many grants from the foundation powering work in early detection. The fifth floor of Fred Hutch’s Arnold Building, home to its Public Health Sciences Division, is named for the foundation.

    At present, participating sites for PASS include the University of California, San Francisco; Stanford University; Emory University; Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School; University of Michigan; University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio; Eastern Virginia Medical School; Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System; University of Washington and University of British Columbia.

    Interested in PASS? Contact Dr. Lisa Newcomb or go to https://canarypass.org/

    Interested in accessing Canary PASS Active Surveillance Risk Calculators? The PASS Risk Calculators provide estimates of how likely a man is to have more aggressive cancer in the future. These tools are intended to be useful for clinicians and their patients as they determine optimal methods of active surveillance. Access the risk calculators: https://canarypass.org/pass-risk-calculator/

    To read the full article by Diane Mapes, a staff writer at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, please go to: https://www.fredhutch.org/en/news/center-news/2019/11/prostate-cancer-study-nci-funding-grant.html

    Canary Highpoints: Cancer Early Detection Research Progress 2013

    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.

    Prostate Cancer Early Detection: Canary PASS Trial Hits Important Milestone

    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?

    ProstateTreating 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!

    Lung Cancer Early Detection: Canary Foundation Collaborates with MD Anderson

    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.

    MDACC_RGB_TC_tag_VThe 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.

    Canary Awards for Outstanding Early Cancer Detection Research

    October 29, 2013

    Each year, Canary Awards — often featuring a golden or crystal canary — are presented at the Canary Symposium to recognize the year’s outstanding contributions. This year, two awards were bestowed for teams who demonstrated outstanding progress in their cancer early detection research.
    Prostate

    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.

    Breast Cancer Early Detection Research at Canary Foundation

    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.

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    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.

    Riding to Victory! Cancer Early Detection Fundraising at the Canary Challenge 2013

    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.

    Cyclists rode (or a handful walked, in the case of the 5K) collectively 39, 290 miles!
    Screen shot 2013-10-03 at 4.03.19 PM

    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.

    Screen shot 2013-10-03 at 4.04.43 PMWe 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!

    Cancer Early Detection Contest: Fundraising and Riding for the Canary Challenge

    September 18, 2013

    We’re currently 10 days away from the Canary Challenge, and weather reports show that conditions will be perfect the day of the ride. We are so excited to see all the riders, sponsors, and volunteers (and their families) at the Canary Challenge on the 28th!

    Currently, we’re running a contest to get you excited about raising funds for cancer early detection and getting your friends signed up for the ride. The incentive? A pair of FABULOUS high end display goggles from Recon Instruments (UVEX Model G.GL9). These goggles give you all the information you could ever dream of wanting delivered instantly, hands free and direct to eye. It’s the world’s first heads up display for sports. Thanks to Recon Instruments for their generous donation!

    Uvex ggl9 recon

    This incredible prize will go to the first three cyclists who complete two tasks:

    1: Raise at least $400 or more

    2: Bring in ONE new cyclist who raises $400 or more

    The deadline for this contest is Monday, September 23. To participate, complete the steps above and email Jesse to let him know you’re eligible for the prize.

    Additionally, we’d like to call attention to the top five Canary Challenge fundraisers so far. These individuals have collectively raised more than $45,000 and they’re still going strong!

    1. Julie Kaufman ($11,667.00)
    2. Steve Ciesinski ($10,695.00)
    3. Don Listwin ($10,000.00)
    4. Stephen Rooks ($8,000.00)
    5. Patrick Gelsinger ($6,850.00)

    Many thanks to these fundraisers for serving as such great inspiration to keep reaching for as many donations as possible to benefit cancer early detection research at the Stanford Cancer Institute and the Canary Center at Stanford. Way to go!

    Canary Challenge Benefit Cycling Event Experiences Major Growth Spurt

    September 13, 2013

    For Immediate Release
    Contact: Erica Glessing
    Erica@CanaryFoundation.org

    CC

    September 28, 2013 Event Draws Vanderkitten Pro Cyclists

    Palo Alto, CA – The California cycling event Canary Challenge on Sept. 28 2013 in Palo Alto is experiencing a major growth spurt in registration over 2012 with registration up more than 60 percent. The event, produced by the Canary Foundation, benefits Stanford Cancer Institute and the Canary Center at Stanford for Cancer Early Detection. “We are thrilled with the surge in registration and sponsorships in 2013,” says Don Listwin, Canary Foundation chairman and founder of the Canary Challenge. “We built an outstanding series of routes that will challenge or entertain every level of cyclist, from the new 5K Canary Cruiser to the Century.”

    More than 815 cyclists have registered to participate, an exciting 61 percent increase over 2012 registration. Many of the cyclists participate with a personal reason for riding. For instance, Carolyn Helmke of Mountain View, an accomplished individual fundraiser, is a cancer survivor. “I support the Canary Challenge 100 percent,” says Helmke, who encouraged her friends to give a donation to the Canary Challenge in lieu of birthday gifts this year. She has raised over $4,000 to date, just one of the hundreds of participants who are on track to collectively raise $1 million in donations for cancer research this year. Cancer early detection research is a cornerstone of Canary Foundation.

    Pros from the Vanderkitten Racing team are among those to support Canary Challenge in a big way, with more than six of the professional women cyclists on board to fundraise and ride on September 28. “Funds raised by the Canary Challenge go directly to early cancer detection research, and this makes the event a perfect fit for Vanderkitten Racing,” says Dave Verrecchia,Vanderkitten team owner. More »

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