Canary Fund Launches New Collaborative Model Aimed at Early Detection of Cancer - Canary Fund is named Official Social Cause of Champ Car and the Champ Car World Series

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Nonprofit supports development of biomarker discovery platform through scientific collaboration, symposia, research grants and high-profile events

Margaret Mead said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” The newly established Canary Fund hopes to prove that point emphatically by changing the course of cancer research. Founded in 2004 by Silicon Valley executive Don Listwin, Canary Fund is based in the vision of Nobel Laureate Dr. Lee Hartwell, Ph.D., and has been founded to address a notable lack of balance in cancer research. While almost $10 billion is spent annually on cancer research in the United States, the vast majority is allocated to developing new cancer treatments. Canary Fund addresses a lack of funding available to researchers investigating new ways to detect it at its earliest, curable stages.

“Canary Fund is dedicated to the belief that stopping cancer early is the best possible investment we can make,” says Listwin. “And why Canary Fund now? The simple answer is that the vision and technology have come of age. We now have an opportunity to create the new biomarker discovery platform, which will allow us to shift medicine away from a reliance on therapy to an advancing of diagnostics and intervention.”

Canary Fund is building a collaborative model for early detection research to bring together physicians and scientists who are engaged in creating a roadmap for solving the problem of cancer. Canary Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in California, is collaborating with research partners Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Stanford University Medical School. The formal activities of Canary Fund are overseen by a Scientific Advisory Board headed by Dr. Lee Hartwell, Ph.D., President and Director of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) in Seattle and winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and comprised of distinguished leaders in the field of cancer research.

Canary Fund was officially launched at an event at Listwin’s home in Woodside on October 26, 2004, where Listwin announced upcoming Canary Fund activities, including research grants, scholarly symposia, post-doctoral fellowships, and a support relationship with Champ Car. At the launch, Champ Car co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven announced that Canary Fund has been named Official Social Cause of Champ Car and Champ Car World Series. Kalkhoven went on to announce a $1 million contribution from Champ, and revealed that Champ’s upcoming racing season will include Canary Fund support of a major Bay Area racing event. Also on hand to lend support were San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales and California State Assemblyman Mark Leno bearing a proclamation of support from the legislature. Entertainment was provided by Huey Lewis & The News.

Canary Fund’s first scientific symposium, titled Realizing the Promise: Early Detection of Cancer, will take place May 25 and 26, 2005, at Stanford University’s Clark Center, with keynote presentations by Dr. Hartwell and many of the nation’s leading cancer researchers.

Canary Fund is launching the Cancer Early Detection Fellowship Program, with an immediate goal of raising $250,000 to fund five post-doctorate Fellows, the beginning of a partnership with the American Cancer Society that will be crucial to ensuring that the best and brightest researchers are drawn to early detection research.

The first national organization dedicated solely to encouraging and funding research and development of technologies to detect cancer early, Canary Fund continues a legacy of support from the Listwin Family Foundation, one of the largest private contributors ever to early detection research. Listwin Family Foundation gifts have included:

• $3M to FHCRC for ovarian cancer early detection research, 2002-03

• $10 million to FHCRC’s Early Detection and Intervention initiative, 2003

• $1 million to Stanford University Medical School for molecular imaging research, 2004

• $1 million pledged to UCSF’s Comprehensive Cancer Center for general early detection research, 2005

Canary Fund is administered principally by Founder Don Listwin, CEO of Openwave Systems, and Canary Fund President Dale Jantzen, a 20-year veteran in senior marketing and product development for major telecommunications and high-tech corporations.

For more information on Canary Fund and its programs, please visit


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