NEW YORK, July 16, 2020 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- Stand Up To Cancer today announced a new $5 million grant from Bristol Myers Squibb to fund research and education efforts aimed at achieving health equity for underserved lung cancer patients, including Black people and people living in rural communities. Despite recent progress in treating lung cancer, the disease remains the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. with particularly high death rates in rural communities and among Black men.
The research efforts funded by the three-year grant will consist of supplemental grants to current Stand Up To Cancer research teams. The supplemental grants will focus on identifying new and innovative diagnostic and treatment methods for lung cancer patients in need. These supplemental grants will be designed to jumpstart pilot projects at the intersection of lung cancers, health disparities and rural healthcare, for instance increasing clinical trial enrollment among historically under-represented groups.
In early 2021, a Stand Up To Cancer Innovation Summit will launch the project, bringing together lung cancer experts with researchers specializing in health equity and access. The competitive grant application and selection process for proposed projects will be overseen by Stand Up To Cancer's Scientific Advisory Committee.
"Stand Up To Cancer's portfolio already includes 17 team science projects in lung cancer, and 24 lung cancer clinical trials have been funded to date," said Nobel Laureate Phillip A. Sharp, PhD, chair of the SU2C Scientific Advisory Committee, and Institute professor, David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "With this comprehensive lung cancer network and the dedication to diversifying cancer clinical trials, Stand Up To Cancer will leverage the Bristol Myers Squibb grant to reach lung cancer patients who have historically been marginalized by our health care system."
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront the longstanding health care disparities faced by communities of color in the U.S. Many of the same economic and social conditions that are actively contributing to COVID-19 testing and treatment inequities have created disparities in cancer care for decades. Currently, only 4% of cancer clinical trial participants are Black and 5% are Hispanic, according to FDA data. Stand Up To Cancer and Bristol Myers Squibb are committed to addressing issues in cancer care inequities. Stand Up to Cancer's Health Equity Initiative is dedicated to increasing diverse participation in cancer clinical trials and Bristol Myers Squibb has long demonstrated its commitment to fostering health equity through support of programs that address disparities in health care and extend medical advances to communities in need around the world.
"We are so thankful to Bristol Myers Squibb for this grant, which unites our common goals of improving cancer care for underserved communities," said Sung Poblete, PhD, RN, CEO of Stand Up To Cancer. "This is the type of commitment and collaboration needed to ensure all cancer patients benefit equally from advances in research and treatment."
"Despite the remarkable recent progress in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, the disparities in care experienced by underserved patient populations are persistent and acute," said Adam Lenkowsky, general manager and head, U.S., Oncology, Immunology, Cardiovascular, Bristol Myers Squibb. "As a company focused on transforming patients' lives through science, we are dedicated to improving health outcomes for all patients. Our support of Stand Up to Cancer's work to address the burden of lung cancer among diverse and rural communities is another extension of our long-standing commitment to ensuring that every patient has access to quality care."
Since 2014, Bristol Myers Squibb has provided funding for important Stand Up To Cancer research initiatives. Bristol Myers Squibb was the inaugural donor for SU2C Catalyst®, supporting research and clinical trials targeting a wide range of cancers, including non-small cell lung cancer, metastatic melanoma, smoldering multiple myeloma, pediatric hypermutant cancers, pediatric brain tumors and pediatric neuroblastoma. Funding has also supported Convergence Grants, which harness computational science to understand fundamental cancer biology, Innovative Research Grants focused on immuno-oncology, as well as Dream Teams focused on lung cancer.
Stand Up To Cancer's Health Equity Initiative formalizes requirements that will apply to all future teams seeking Stand Up To Cancer funding. The requirements include addressing recruitment and retention of patients from different ethnic groups and underserved communities to improve diverse participation in cancer clinical trials. To improve cancer clinical trial education, outreach and recruitment in underserved communities, Stand Up To Cancer is collaborating with advocacy and community-based organizations such as the Black Women's Health Imperative and Friends of Cancer Research.
Bristol Myers Squibb has long been committed to promoting heath equity and continues to forge collaborations and invest in programs to increase the reach of medical innovation to diverse and heavily burdened populations. An important example of the company's commitment in this area is the work of the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation, which for more than 20 years has launched initiatives around the world to improve the health outcomes of those disproportionately affected by serious diseases. This includes initiatives focused on underserved populations in the Southeast United States where the lung cancer burden is the highest, with a tailored focus on innovative models of prevention, detection, and education while helping people with lung cancer access and navigate cancer care and support services. From 2014-2019, the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation committed $35 million to expand the scope of community-based resources and cancer survivorship support programs to underserved populations in the U.S.
About Stand Up To Cancer
Stand Up To Cancer® (SU2C) raises funds to accelerate the pace of research to get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now. SU2C, a division of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, was established in 2008 by media and entertainment leaders who utilize these communities' resources to engage the public in supporting a new, collaborative model of cancer research, to increase awareness about cancer prevention, and to highlight progress being made in the fight against the disease. As of January 2020, more than 1,600 scientists representing more than 180 institutions are involved in SU2C-funded research projects.
Under the direction of our Scientific Advisory Committee, led by Nobel laureate Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., SU2C operates rigorous competitive review processes to identify the best research proposals to recommend for funding, oversee grants administration, and ensure collaboration across research programs.
Current members of the SU2C Council of Founders and Advisors (CFA) include Katie Couric, Sherry Lansing, Kathleen Lobb, Lisa Paulsen, Rusty Robertson, Sue Schwartz, Pamela Oas Williams, and Ellen Ziffren. The late Laura Ziskin and the late Noreen Fraser are also co-founders. Sung Poblete, Ph.D., R.N., serves as SU2C's CEO. For more information, visit StandUpToCancer.org.
About Bristol Myers Squibb
Bristol Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information about Bristol Myers Squibb, visit us at BMS.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
SOURCE Stand Up To Cancer