LOS ANGELES / NEW YORK, April 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), and the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA) have collaborated on a new television and radio public service announcement starring Emmy® Award-winning celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis, who tragically lost her brother to melanoma. The PSA is designed to increase awareness about the life-saving benefits of protecting oneself from harmful exposure to UV rays that increase the risk of being diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest of all skin cancers, as well as the importance of early detection. It is the latest element in an ongoing "Protect Your Skin" campaign http://youtu.be/ufsacyOEDgM.
Melanoma is the fastest growing cancer globally, and its incidence has tripled in the U.S. over the past three decades. While prevention is the first step, early detection of melanoma is key to survival. Through the PSA, SU2C and MRA encourage people to always use sunscreens and to check regularly for persistent blemishes or moles along with other changes in their skin. When caught early, the five-year survival rate for melanoma is 92%. Most melanomas arise in the skin, but they can also occur in the eyes and other parts of the body.
De Laurentiis, an SU2C celebrity ambassador, says that the death of her younger brother Dino from melanoma at age 31 made her realize that everyone is at risk for melanoma. "Early detection can truly save your life," said De Laurentiis. "You don't have to die from melanoma or any other kind of skin cancer. My brother didn't have to die. Had we caught the melanoma early on, he would no doubt be fine today. He could have been cured."
"We need to check ourselves and be attuned with our bodies," added De Laurentiis. "If there's any change at all in your skin, no matter how small it is, go see your doctor."
Melanoma Research Alliance is the largest private funder of melanoma research. To date, MRA has awarded $38 million to 96 research programs to make transformative advances in the prevention, diagnosis, staging, and treatment of melanoma, with plans to award at least $8 million in new grants in 2013. Its global support includes research in biological causes of carcinogenesis, skin screening, biomarkers, imaging, immunotherapy, molecularly targeted therapy, and combination therapy. MRA's ultimate goal is to find a cure by funding the most promising melanoma research worldwide that will accelerate progress and improve outcomes for patients and the many at risk for the disease.
"We are thrilled to team up with Giada De Laurentiis and our friends at Stand Up To Cancer to increase awareness about melanoma and the importance of early detection through this PSA," said Debra Black, co-founder, MRA. "Giada's willingness to share her family's story underscores that melanoma can happen to anyone, and sends a powerful message. We hope this PSA campaign encourages people to take the necessary steps to protect themselves and saves lives." Black is a melanoma survivor.
In December 2011, SU2C announced its first jointly funded Dream Team in collaboration with the Melanoma Research Alliance. The SU2C-MRA Melanoma Dream Team Translational Cancer Research Grant provides $6 million during a three-year period.
The Dream Team, led by Jeffrey M. Trent, Ph.D., president and research director at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix, and Patricia M. LoRusso, director of the Eisenberg Center for Experimental Therapeutics at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, is exploring "Personalized Medicine for Patients with BRAF Wild-Type (BRAFwt) Cancer." The team's members are working to identify new therapeutic targets to treat patients with BRAFwt metastatic melanoma, an area where historically there has been little progress.
"The essence of Stand Up To Cancer is collaboration," said SU2C Co-founder Sherry Lansing. "We are excited to continue our work with the Melanoma Research Alliance and are grateful to Giada De Laurentiis for helping shed light on melanoma prevention. Working together, we are making meaningful progress in the fight against this deadly form of cancer."
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 MELANOMA RESEARCH ALLIANCE
The Melanoma Research Alliance is a public charity formed in 2007 under the auspices of the Milken Institute, with the generous founding support of Debra and Leon Black. It supports an international, cross-disciplinary group of biomedical researchers possessing clinical and scientific expertise to explore, identify and pursue innovative solutions to critical research questions, leading to better treatments and a cure for melanoma patients.
SOURCE Stand Up To Cancer