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Cancer Research Institute Announces Second Annual Cancer Immunotherapy Month

  • Educational and Awareness Raising Events Scheduled throughout the Month of June

  • “30 Days, 30 Stories” Campaign to Highlight Impact of Immunotherapy on Lives of Patients

  • New Cancer Immunotherapy Website for Patients and Caregivers to Launch June 1

  • Singer and Film Star Olivia Newton-John to Appear in Cancer Immunotherapy PSA

NEW YORK, May 28, 2014—The Cancer Research Institute (CRI) is pleased to host its second annual Cancer Immunotherapy Month in June, aimed at increasing awareness of cancer immunotherapy, also known as immuno-oncology, a class of cancer treatment that mobilizes the immune system to fight the disease. Immunotherapy was named Science magazine’s 2013 Breakthrough of the Year, and is anticipated once again to dominate this year’s annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) beginning Friday this week.

As a major initiative of the month, CRI will profile immunotherapy patient success stories—one per day, each day in June—across a broad range of cancers including melanoma, prostate cancer, leukemia, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, and others. This series, called “30 Days, 30 Stories: Surviving Cancer through Immunotherapy,” will be hosted on a new website launching June 1, TheAnswerToCancer.org, which provides patients and their caregivers easy-to-understand information on cancer immunotherapy and connects them to immunotherapy clinical trials.

Also in June, Grammy winner, film star, and cancer “thriver,” Olivia Newton-John, will appear in a CRI Public Service Announcement (PSA) about cancer immunotherapy. Newton-John, who overcame breast cancer more than 20 years ago, is a vocal advocate for cancer patient health and wellness. She actively supports treatment and research through the Olivia Newton-John Cancer & Wellness Centre at Austin Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, which is leading the way in cancer immunotherapy in Australia.

“Cancer immunotherapy today is producing remarkable and durable remissions in some patients, and this is just the beginning,” said Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, Ph.D., CEO and director of scientific affairs at the Cancer Research Institute. “Safe and powerful immune-based cancer treatments will become available for patients with other types of cancer over the next five to ten years, so there’s tremendous optimism that we are truly changing the face of cancer.”

Despite incredible medical advances in the past two years, much of the public are not aware of the ability and potential of immuno-oncology to one day soon offer safer, more effective treatment options for all cancer patients. With significant support from the biotech and pharmaceutical industry as well as leading academic research hospitals, Cancer Immunotherapy Month is helping accelerate the development of immunotherapies by raising funds to support cancer immunotherapy research, increasing awareness and educating the public, and enlisting the help of scientists and clinicians around the world.

Other important highlights from the month include:

  • A weekly series of free educational webinars hosted by CRI to help people learn more about groundbreaking research in immunotherapy. The webinars will feature leading scientific experts who will share the latest news, new treatment strategies, and challenges the field still faces. Audience participants will be able to submit questions for the experts. Register at www.cancerresearch.org/webinars.
    • May 28: Reactivating Your Immune System to Fight Cancer, with Rolf Brekken, Ph.D., UT Southwestern Medical Center
    • June 5: Harnessing the Immune System to Treat Melanoma, with Nina Bhardwaj, M.D., Ph.D., Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
    • June 10: Immunotherapies for Prostate, Bladder, and Kidney Cancers, with Sumit K. Subudhi, M.D., Ph.D., The University of Texas at MD Anderson Cancer Center
    • June 17: Developing Effective Immunotherapies for Ovarian Cancer and Other Tumors, with George Coukos, M.D., Ph.D., CHUV and Ludwig Cancer Research     
    • June 24: Immunotherapy for Lung Cancer, with Glenn Dranoff, M.D., Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Friday, June 6, is White Out Cancer Day. Join the movement of people all around the globe wearing white and posting photos and stories with hashtag #WhiteOutCancer to social media channels to raise awareness of immunotherapy.
  • On June 11, Cancer Research Institute will “White Out Times Square.” We will ring the NASDAQ OMX closing bell and hold a gathering of cancer immunotherapy supporters and scientists dressed in all white in Times Square.
  • On June 18, at 1pm EDT, CRI will partner with the American Association for Cancer Research, the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, and TIME magazine, to host a live Twitter Chat titled “The Promise of Immunotherapy” featuring experts from around the world.
  • Throughout the month of June, 1-800-flowers.com, an official sponsor of CRI’s Cancer Immunotherapy Month, will feature a collection of flowers and gifts on its e-commerce sites, with 10 percent of the net proceeds from the sale of the items within the “Stay Strong and Smile” floral collection to be donated to CRI.
  • CRI will enlist the public’s help to #WhiteOutCancer on social media throughout the month of June. We are asking our supporters to white out their Facebook profile photos to encourage friends and family to become aware and learn more about cancer immunotherapy. Check out our Facebook event page to learn how to get involved at www.cancerresearch.org/whiteoutfacebook.
  • CRI has created an educational email campaign for oncology nurses, an important point of contact and expert resource for patients and caregivers. This program will include basic definitions, infographics and “Go To” resources to learn more about cancer immunotherapy.
  • There are many ways individuals and corporations can support Cancer Immunotherapy Month and the Cancer Research Institute’s scientific research. We encourage everyone to donate at www.cancerresearch.org, text “Join” to 80888 to donate $10, or support a fundraising team at www.cancerresearch.org/join-the-movement.

The Cancer Research Institute would like to thank the following generous sponsors of Cancer Immunotherapy Month:

  • Funding for the “30 Days, 30 Stories” campaign has been provided by a charitable grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb and generous support from Dendreon.
  • Funding for the Oncology Nurse Educational Program has been provided by a charitable grant from Merck, known as MSD outside the U.S. and Canada, and sponsorship from Genentech.
  • Webinar funding provided by contributions from Agenus, Dendreon, and Peregrine Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • Presenting Sponsors: 1-800-flowers.com, Agenus, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Dendreon, Genentech, MedImmune, Merck; Gold Sponsors: Peregrine Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Silver Sponsors: AbbVie, Biovest International, Parkell, Inc.; Bronze Sponsors: Argos Therapeutics, Galena Biopharma, Inc.; Contributors: Aduro BioTech, Inc., Bavarian Nordic, Celldex Therapeutics, Inc., Corporate Risk Solutions, CureVac, Heat Biologics, Lion Biotechnologies, Nektar, and SillaJen.

The Cancer Research Institute would also like to thank our collaborators and supporters including: American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), Andrew Baum of Citi Research, Association for Cancer Immunotherapy (CIMT), BasinTek, Cancer Hope Network, Cancer Immunotherapy Consortium (CIC), Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network (CITN), Carley J. Rutledge Foundation, ecentricarts, Giant Creative/Strategies LLC, immatics, Ludwig Cancer Research, Lung Cancer Alliance, Manhattan Bridge Club, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Mount Sinai Tisch Cancer Institute, Nueva Vida, Olivia Newton-John and the Olivia Newton-John Cancer & Wellness Centre at Austin Hospital, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, The Rockefeller University, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Stand Up To Cancer, Stupid Cancer, ThomasArts, TIME, Trilogy Lacrosse, and ZERO – The Project to End Prostate Cancer.

*Immunotherapy results may vary from patient to patient.

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