Building on two historic fundraising telecasts in 2008 and 2010, groundbreaking grassroots movement Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), will return to primetime television on FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET). Executive producers Gwyneth Paltrow and Joel Gallen of Tenth Planet Productions will join Stand Up To Cancer’s production team to deliver a one-of-a-kind show featuring performances from top recording artists, as well as celebrities from film, television and sports engaging viewers with powerful stories and a moving call-to-action.
This star-studded appeal will continue to build public support for groundbreaking translational research accelerating the delivery of new therapies to patients, getting them from the “bench to the bedside” as quickly as possible. SU2C brings together scientists from different disciplines across various institutions to collaborate.
ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC are donating one hour of simultaneous commercial-free primetime for the nationally televised fundraising special on September 7, to be broadcast live from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. HBO, HBO Latino, Bio, LMN (Lifetime Movie Network), Logo, MLB Network, mun2, Palladia and VH1 have also committed to carry the “Stand Up To Cancer” telecast, with other cablers expected to as well. The program will include a celebrity phone/multi-media bank that will allow viewers to interact with participating talent. Viewers will also be able to donate via text-to-give and at standup2cancer.org. One hundred percent of all public donations will go directly to cancer research.
One in two men and one in three women in the U.S. are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes, and almost eight million people worldwide die from cancer each year.
“This broadcast has become a global call-to-action for all those touched by cancer,” Paltrow said. “Like so many people, I know what it’s like to lose a family member to this disease, and I’m honored to stand up in my father’s memory.”
Gallen previously produced three extremely successful televised fundraising specials: “America: A Tribute to Heroes” (after 9/11), “Shelter from the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast” and “Hope for Haiti Now.” Music was a key element of each. He also produced and directed the “25th Anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert.”
“Music and its ability to heal, unite and motivate will play a central role in this year’s show, as will the stories of people affected by cancer and how SU2C is changing their lives,” Gallen said. “It’s an honor to build on the terrific legacy Laura Ziskin established with the previous two broadcasts.”
Legendary film producer Laura Ziskin, who was a member of the SU2C Executive Leadership Council, executive-produced the first two telecasts. Ziskin lived with breast cancer for seven years before it took her life in June of 2011.
“Stand Up To Cancer demonstrates the power of the entertainment community to help unite the public in support of a crucial cause that affects us all,” said SU2C Executive Leadership Council Member Sherry Lansing, who also established the Sherry Lansing Foundation and is Board Chair of the Entertainment Industry Foundation. “We’re very grateful to Gwyneth and Joel for leading the charge this year and continuing to foster this important movement.”
SU2C was founded on the belief that this is a pivotal juncture with the potential for transformative progress in cancer research because of two trends: breakthroughs made in our understanding of the basic science of cancer, and technological advances that enable us to translate them into new treatments. Today’s cancer researchers need additional funding to fulfill the promise of life-saving discoveries, and Stand Up To Cancer engages the public to support their work.
“We set out to convince the public that this is a moment of great promise in cancer research, and that each and every person can play a role in helping the scientists who are working so hard to end this terrible disease,” said Stand Up To Cancer Executive Leadership Council Member Katie Couric. “Only four years into our work, we are delighted with the results. Our SU2C Dream Teams of scientists have made important strides, all for the benefit of patients, and we are excited to share that progress through the show.”
Talent participation in the 2012 SU2C broadcast will be announced throughout the summer. Past participants in the SU2C broadcasts include: Jennifer Aniston, Christina Applegate, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Lance Armstrong, Halle Berry, Beyoncé, Jack Black, Mary J. Blige, Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Katie Couric, Sheryl Crow, Ellen DeGeneres, Michael Douglas, Kirsten Dunst, Melissa Etheridge, Jimmy Fallon, Fergie, Jennifer Garner, Charlie Gibson, Salma Hayek, Ken Jeong, Scarlett Johansson, Jaime King, Lady Antebellum, Jay Leno, Laura Linney, Tobey Maguire, Martina McBride, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jim Parsons, Keanu Reeves, Rihanna, Robin Roberts, Seth Rogen, Adam Sandler, Diane Sawyer, Ryan Seacrest, Will Smith, Eric Stonestreet, Meryl Streep, James Taylor, Carrie Underwood, Sofía Vergara, Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker, Brian Williams, Reese Witherspoon, Stevie Wonder, Renée Zellweger, the late Patrick Swayze and others.
The first two SU2C telecasts took place on September 5, 2008 and September 10, 2010, and have been viewed in more than 190 countries. To date, more than $180 million has been pledged for SU2C’s innovative cancer research. Since 2008, SU2C has made grants to seven multi-disciplinary “Dream Teams” of researchers as well as to 26 young innovative scientists who are undertaking high-risk, potentially high-reward projects to end the reign of cancer as a leading cause of death in the world today. Sixty-eight institutions are currently involved.
The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the world’s largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer, is the scientific partner of Stand Up To Cancer. The AACR is responsible for the scientific review, grants administration and scientific oversight of SU2C research projects in conjunction with the SU2C Scientific Advisory Committee, led by Nobel Laureate Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., institute professor at the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The SU2C funding model has fostered collaboration and innovation, and the unprecedented sharing of ideas and pooling of resources across institutions. Dr. Sharp calls SU2C’s revolutionary approach “the best dollar spent on cancer research in the country.”
Collectively, the research underway through the SU2C Dream Team projects has the potential to impact the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of cancers in adults and children across ethnicities, including pancreatic, breast, ovarian, skin, cervical, uterine, brain, lung, prostate, rectal and colon, leukemia and lymphoma, all of which collectively represent approximately two-thirds of all U.S. cancer deaths.
Below are short descriptions of the seven Dream Teams:
The SU2C Epigenetics Dream Team: The epigenome refers to, in a sense, the “software” packaging that allows the “hard drive” of DNA to provide information for all cells in the body, and their genes, to carry out their specific functions. When this software behaves abnormally, it sends inaccurate signals and actually causes cancer. Manipulating this epigenetic material or reversing how it’s behaving can attack the cancer itself. This SU2C Dream Team tested a combination of epigenetic drugs in clinical trials and saw tumors shrink in a group of patients with non-small cell lung cancer, who had previously been treated, unsuccessfully, with three different chemotherapy regimens. This was the first-ever trial to show a bona-fide clinical response to epigenetic therapy in a solid tumor. The use of this treatment has been expanded into breast and colon cancer trials, and early lab results are extremely promising. In addition, the Dream Team observed responses to subsequent therapies in their patients, leading them to hypothesize that the epigenetic therapy may sensitize patients to other agents. If these early findings are borne out, they have the potential to save tens of thousands of lives.
The SU2C Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team: This SU2C Dream Team has gained important insight into how the pancreatic tumor fuels itself, and is testing new ways of cutting off the fuel supply. One trial therapy uses one drug to decrease the dense cellular layer surrounding the cancer so that a second drug can kill the cancer cells, and this drug combination has shown a high rate of substantial tumor shrinkage. Additionally, the Dream Team is studying a glutamine imaging agent that can be used during the PET scans of pancreatic patients to monitor the cancer growth and to validate whether a treatment is working. The Dream Team is also aggressively developing molecular profiles of patients’ tumors in order to identify potential druggable targets in patients for whom standard therapies have not helped.
The SU2C PI3K Pathway Dream Team: This SU2C Dream Team is studying a group of genes involved in cell growth. These genes make up an information pathway that, when broken, can allow cells to grow uncontrollably. The team is enrolling patients with these phosphoinositide PI3- kinase (PI3K) mutations into clinical trials to test combinations of drugs to attack breast, ovarian and endometrial cancers. The goal of this Dream Team is to discover approaches that will predict which women’s cancers will respond positively to a drug that inhibits the PI3K pathway. The Dream Team has nine clinical trials underway to determine which patients will respond to PI3K inhibitors, to identify the drug combinations that will be most effective and to determine the best combination therapies for preventing drug resistance.
The SU2C Breast Cancer Dream Team: Breast cancer currently claims the lives of 40,000 women in the United States each year. In addition to developing more effective, less toxic medications for the three major breast cancer subtypes, the team is addressing cancer cells’ ability to become resistant to therapies that are initially effective, which is one of the primary obstacles to successful treatment. Understanding resistance opens the door to developing new therapeutic agents to overcome this critical problem.
The SU2C Circulating Tumor Cell (CTC) Chip Dream Team: This SU2C Dream Team developed a microfluidic chip — smaller than a business card — that detects and captures cancer cells circulating in our blood. The chip is sensitive enough to find one single cancer cell among the one billion normal cells contained in a small amount of a patient’s blood. Four institutions within the Dream Team have utilized the chip to help guide treatment decisions in clinical trials, as it provides valuable insight into a therapy’s effectiveness through real-time tracking of the cancer. The team is now using the CTC technology to investigate the role of circulating tumor cells in the development of prostate cancer metastasis.
The SU2C-MRA Melanoma Dream Team: Funded jointly with the Melanoma Research Alliance, this Dream Team is investigating the utility of personalized/targeted therapy in patients with BRAF Wild-Type (BRAFwt) metastatic melanoma — a subtype of melanoma for which there are currently few treatment options. The team hopes that an individualized medicine approach to the treatment of BRAFwt metastatic melanoma will not only lead to therapeutic benefit for this patient population, but may also be beneficial to many other tumor and disease types.
The SU2C-PCF Prostate Dream Team: Like other types of cancer, Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer (CRPC) is not a homogeneous disease. The diversity in the genetic makeup of each individual’s cancer may explain why therapies that work for some patients seem inefficient for others. This Dream Team — funded jointly with the Prostate Cancer Foundation — will utilize the power of so-called next-generation sequencing technology to decode the cancer genomes of 500 patients with CRPC, enrolled in four clinical trials. Armed with information about the genetic makeup of these patients’ individual cancers, the Dream Team will search for biomarker predictors of sensitivity to specific therapies, as well as predictors of resistance to them. The hope is that this approach, often referred to as “personalized medicine”, will lead to more effective and lasting treatments, and potentially spare the patients from unnecessary treatments that provide little or no benefit.
For more detailed information about the Dream Teams, individual Innovative Research Grants and other Stand Up To Cancer activities, www.standup2cancer.org fosters an online community for everyone affected by cancer, with various ways for people to share opinions and support, view video updates, contribute, and learn of ongoing initiatives and progress in the fight against the disease. Features of the website include The Constellation: for a dollar donation or more, users can launch a star in honor of anyone who has received a cancer diagnosis; The SU2C Blog: diverse content describing cutting-edge research, offering unique perspectives of cancer survivors, researchers, and patient advocates; and The Grassroots Toolkit: providing tools for community members to fundraise through SU2C Teams, Races, Clubs, or Events.
SU2C social media also provides a variety of opportunities to interact with SU2C, support those in the fight, and contribute to SU2C’s efforts. Social channels include a thriving SU2C Facebook community of 850,000 fans, SU2C’s YouTube channel with 400 videos, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Crowdrise, and many more. Viewers can begin standing up to cancer now by becoming a fan of SU2C on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/su2c, by following SU2C on Twitter at @SU2C http://twitter.com/su2c, subscribing to SU2C’s YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/su2c or by following SU2C on Google+ at https://plus.google.com/101641624610817811232. To view our online tune-in video, please visit http://youtu.be/7O_P_Fr4S1E, which is also available for embed within your blog or site.
About the Stand Up To Cancer Initiative
Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) — a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), a 501(c)3 charitable organization — raises funds to hasten the pace of groundbreaking translational research that can get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives. In the fall of 2007, a group of women whose lives have all been affected by cancer in profound ways began working together to marshal the resources of the media and entertainment industries in the fight against this disease.
Members of the SU2C Executive Leadership Council (ELC) include Cancer Advocate and Television Journalist Katie Couric; Sherry Lansing, Chairperson of the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Board of Directors and founder of the Sherry Lansing Foundation; EIF President and CEO Lisa Paulsen; EIF Senior Vice President Kathleen Lobb; Rusty Robertson and Sue Schwartz of the Robertson Schwartz Agency; Pamela Oas Williams, President of Laura Ziskin Productions and Executive Producer of Stand Up To Cancer’s In-House Production Team, and Nonprofit Executive Ellen Ziffren. All of the ELC members are co-producers of the 2012 televised special. The late Laura Ziskin, executive producer of both the Sept. 5, 2008 and Sept. 10, 2010 broadcasts, was also a member of the ELC. SU2C was formally launched on May 27, 2008. Sung Poblete, Ph.D, R.N., has served as SU2C’s president and CEO since 2011.
Founding donor Major League Baseball has provided both financial support and countless opportunities to build the Stand Up To Cancer grassroots movement by encouraging fans all over the country to get involved.
Other major SU2C donors include Sidney Kimmel, the country’s largest individual contributor to cancer research; Bloomberg Philanthropies; Cancer Research Institute; Cancer Treatment Centers of America; Genentech; MasterCard; Melanoma Research Alliance; The Safeway Foundation; Prostate Cancer Foundation; Wallis Annenberg & The Annenberg Foundation; Amgen, GlaxoSmithKline; Pfizer; Oakland A’s Owner/Managing Partner Lew Wolff; Comcast; Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); Philips Electronics; Steve Tisch; The Island Def Jam Music Group and many others.
In addition to ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC and numerous cablers, other significant SU2C supporters include AOL, Bonnier Corporation, Condé Nast Media Group, eBay Inc., Facebook, Hearst Corporation, Hulu, iTunes, Los Angeles Times, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Meredith Corporation, The New York Times Company, Rodale, Time Inc, WebMD, Yahoo! and YouTube. For more information, visit standup2cancer.org.