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Hollywood Producer and Cancer Activist Laura Ziskin Dies of Breast Cancer

NEW YORK, NY – June 13, 2011 – The Cancer Research Institute, Inc. (CRI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing scientific research aimed at harnessing the immune system’s power to conquer cancer, is deeply saddened by the death of Hollywood producer and studio executive Laura Ziskin. Ziskin, whose work as the producer of the films Spider-Man, Pretty Woman, As Good As It Gets, and many others made her one of the most influential women in Hollywood history, tragically lost her seven-year battle with breast cancer yesterday. She was to receive the 2011 Oliver R. Grace Award for Distinguished Service in Advancing Cancer Research at the Cancer Research Institute 25th Annual Awards Dinner, to be held this October in New York City. CRI plans to present the Grace Award posthumously to Ziskin at the dinner.

"Laura Ziskin's courage and determination in the face of cancer was an inspiration to many," said CRI executive director Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, Ph.D. "She transformed her personal experience with breast cancer into a rallying cry for other top Hollywood figures, and with them created the highly successful Stand Up to Cancer awareness and fund raising campaign."

Ziskin has also publically expressed her belief in the potential of immunotherapies like cancer vaccines and antibodies to transform cancer treatment, and has advocated for increased funding to support cancer immunotherapy research, which has been the central focus of Cancer Research Institute’s work for nearly sixty years.

"Laura was a champion to cancer patients and to research scientists alike, and we deeply regret that we were unable to publically acknowledge our appreciation of her outstanding contributions to cancer research while she was still with us," O’Donnell-Tormey said.

Ziskin accepted the honor of receiving the Grace Award earlier this year, and had been planning to attend Cancer Research Institute’s October gala in New York City.

"Every death caused by cancer is a tragedy," said O’Donnell-Tormey, "and every life lost to this disease underscores the urgency of the need for funding to advance potentially life-saving cancer research supported by nonprofit organizations like Stand Up to Cancer, the American Association for Cancer Research, and the Cancer Research Institute."

The 25th Annual Awards Dinner of the Cancer Research Institute will take place October 3, 2011, at 583 Park Avenue in New York City.

External Links
Stand Up To Cancer tribute to co-founder Laura Ziskin

Media Contact
Brian M. Brewer, Cancer Research Institute
+1(212)688-7515, ext. 242, or

About the Cancer Research Institute
The Cancer Research Institute (CRI), established in 1953, is the world’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to transforming cancer patient care by advancing scientific efforts to develop new and effective immune system-based strategies to prevent, diagnose, treat, and eventually cure all cancers. Guided by a world-renowned Scientific Advisory Council that includes three Nobel laureates and 26 members of the National Academy of Sciences, CRI has invested $336 million in support of research conducted by immunologists and tumor immunologists at the world’s leading medical centers and universities, and has contributed to many of the key scientific advances that demonstrate the potential for immunotherapy to change the face of cancer treatment. To learn more, go to