LOS ANGELES and NEW YORK, June 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) and the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) have teamed up to develop a new print public service announcement featuring NCIS star Mark Harmon. The PSA, entitled "I Am My Own Secret Weapon," is designed to increase awareness about cancer immunotherapy, which mobilizes our immune systems to fight cancer.
One in two men and one in three women will get some form of cancer in their lifetimes, and every day, nearly 1,600 Americans die from cancer. This debilitating disease can often make people feel like they are no longer in control of their bodies. Through this PSA, SU2C and CRI increase awareness of the need to support more research on immune-based cancer treatments.
"Cancer research is extremely important to me," said two-time Emmy Award nominee Harmon. "I don't know anyone who hasn't been affected by cancer in some way or another. I'm here today to highlight the unbelievable work that CRI and SU2C are doing to advance the field of cancer immunology."
Mark Harmon has starred as Leroy Jethro "Gibbs" in the hit CBS series NCIS for 10 years. He has been nominated for two Emmys, four Golden Globes, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and two People's Choice Awards for roles he has played throughout his career including The West Wing, Chicago Hope and NCIS.
"The research that CRI and SU2C are doing shows us that with the help of immunotherapy, our bodies' own natural defenses can fight cancer," added Harmon. "We've all seen people suffer through different kinds of treatments for this disease but these advances in immunotherapy have the potential to significantly change cancer treatment as we know it. It's important for people to learn about these discoveries."
CRI is dedicated to the support and coordination of laboratory and clinical efforts that will lead to the immunological treatment, control and prevention of cancer. Through its advancement of cancer immunology research, CRI is learning how to manipulate the human immune system to target and attack cancer.
"We are thrilled to partner with Mark Harmon and Stand Up To Cancer to educate the public about the power of immunology to control and fight cancer using our bodies' own immune defense system," said Jill O'Donnell-Tormey, Ph.D., chief executive officer and director of scientific affairs at CRI. "Immunotherapy has begun to transform cancer treatment, and we are proud to work with Stand Up To Cancer to move it forward."
In December 2012, SU2C and CRI announced the formation of a Cancer Immunology Translational Research Dream Team, dedicated to exploring the complex relationship between cancer and the immune system. With $10 million in funding over a three-year period, this project will unite laboratory and clinical efforts to work toward the goal of discovering immune-based solutions to fight cancer.
The Dream Team, led by James P. Allison, Ph.D., of the David H. Koch Center for Applied Research of Genitourinary Cancers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Antoni Ribas, M.D., Ph.D., of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, and member of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), is exploring "Immunologic Checkpoint Blockade and Adoptive Cell Transfer in Cancer Therapy." Scientists on this Dream Team represent eight institutions: MD Anderson Cancer Center, UCLA, The Johns Hopkins University, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, California Institute of Technology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and the Netherlands Cancer Institute.
"One of the most beloved actors on television, Mark Harmon can help enormously with our effort to make people aware of immunology's life-saving role in the fight against cancer," said SU2C co-founder and chairman of the board of the Entertainment Industry Foundation Sherry Lansing (SU2C is a program of EIF a 501(c)(3) organization). "We are incredibly lucky to have such a highly regarded star as our ambassador for this campaign – Mark's support is invaluable."
About Stand Up To Cancer
Stand Up To Cancer – an initiative of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, a non-profit organization – began in the USA in 2008 with a landmark telecast on the ABC, CBS and NBC networks. The third U.S.-based telecast was broadcast on ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and 22 cable networks on Sept. 7, 2012. Internationally, in addition to the Netherlands, Stand Up To Cancer launched in the United Kingdom with a four-hour live televised fundraiser on Channel 4 in collaboration with Cancer Research U.K. on Oct. 17, 2012.
Stand Up To Cancer raises funds to hasten the pace of groundbreaking translational research that can get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives. SU2C marshals the resources of the media and entertainment industries in the fight against this disease. Current members of the SU2C Council of Founders and Advisors (CFA) include Talk Show Host, Journalist and well-known Cancer Advocate 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 current members of the CFA were co-producers of the 2012 televised special. The late co-founder Laura Ziskin executive produced both the Sept. 5, 2008, and Sept. 10, 2010, broadcasts. SU2C was formally launched on May 27, 2008. Sung Poblete, Ph.D., R.N., has served as SU2C's president and CEO since 2011.
SU2C's "Dream Team" approach to funding translational cancer research enables scientists from different disciplines at research centers across the country and internationally to collaborate on projects geared toward getting new, less toxic treatments to patients as quickly as possible. Monies also support innovative cancer research projects that are often deemed "too risky" by conventional funding sources. One hundred and one institutions are currently involved. As SU2C's scientific collaborator, the American Association for Cancer Research, led by a prestigious SU2C Scientific Advisory Committee, provides scientific oversight, expert review of the research projects and grants administration. For more information, visit standup2cancer.org.
About the Cancer Research Institute
The Cancer Research Institute (CRI), a nonprofit established in 1953, is the global leader in cancer immunology. Since its inception, CRI has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to support research conducted by more than 3,000 scientists and clinicians worldwide to understand the immune system and how it can be harnessed to conquer all cancers. This work has laid the foundation for nearly every major cancer immunotherapy breakthrough over the past half century.
Guided by an international panel of the world's leading immunologists and cancer immunologists, including three Nobel laureates and 29 members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, CRI provides essential funding to support every stage of discovery, from laboratory investigation to clinical trials of the most promising cancer immunotherapies for patients.
CRI also sponsors a seminal international symposium on cancer immunology each year, hosts annual scientific colloquia dedicated to overcoming challenges in immunotherapy research and development, forges collaborative partnerships between academia and industry to facilitate the development pathway for novel immunotherapeutics, and presents special recognition awards to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to cancer research, patient care and public awareness.
Through its sustaining support and leadership in the field, CRI is accelerating the development of safe and effective immunotherapies that stand to revolutionize the treatment of all cancers. For more information, visit http://cancerresearch.org or follow CRI on Twitter @CancerResearch.
SOURCE Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) and the Cancer Research Institute (CRI)