Cancer Research Institute Celebrates Third Annual Cancer Immunotherapy Month™ in June

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Cancer Immunotherapy Month Focuses on Raising Awareness for the Most Promising Form of Cancer Treatment Today

Cancer treatment is undergoing a revolution thanks to the latest immunotherapy innovations.

Cancer immunotherapy, which is designed to empower a patient’s own immune system to eliminate cancer cells anywhere in the body, has produced cure-like remissions in very advanced cancers, including melanoma, lung cancer, and leukemia. The Cancer Research Institute (CRI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to fueling the discovery and development of immunotherapies for all forms of cancer, is pleased to host its third annual Cancer Immunotherapy Month™ in June. This campaign is aimed at increasing awareness for cancer immunotherapy, also known as immuno-oncology, and accelerating fundraising toward cancer immunotherapy research.

“Cancer treatment is undergoing a revolution thanks to the latest immunotherapy innovations,” said Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, Ph.D., CEO and director of scientific affairs at the Cancer Research Institute. “We expect to see cancer immunotherapy become increasingly mainstream over the next ten years, and with the influx of new therapies and research this will potentially mean fewer lives lost to this disease.”

In the cancer treatment landscape, immunotherapy in its current form is a relative newcomer. While there are numerous immunotherapies approved for use, many patients and their caregivers are still largely unaware of cancer immunotherapy’s potential to offer more effective treatment options than standard treatments.

With support from the biotech and pharmaceutical industry, as well as leading academic universities and nonprofit organizations, Cancer Immunotherapy Month is increasing awareness and funding for cancer immunotherapy, which has the potential to change cancer treatment forever. The need for more cancer immunotherapy research is paramount in order to make immunotherapy available for all cancer patients, no matter what type or stage of cancer they have.

There are many ways to participate in Cancer Immunotherapy Month throughout the month of June. Participants can wear white on June 12 in support of #WhiteOutCancer Day and learn more about immunotherapy through various videos, brochures, and webinars.

Important highlights from the month include:

How to Get Involved in Cancer Immunotherapy Month Events

  •     The inaugural Cancer Research Institute Ride to Conquer Cancer sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb is a two-day, 150-mile cycling event to raise money for cancer immunotherapy research, taking place June 6-7 in New York.
  •     Friday, June 12, is White Out Cancer Day—with white signifying immunotherapy’s power to treat all cancers. The Cancer Research Institute is encouraging patients, health care professionals, and the public to participate by wearing white and sharing a photo on social media using the hashtag #WhiteOutCancer, and tagging Cancer Research Institute on Facebook (@CancerResearchInstituteInc), Twitter (@CancerResearch), or Instagram (@CancerResearchInstitute).

How Patients and Caregivers Can Learn More about Immunotherapy

  •     Video—Patient Stories Awareness Campaign. Meet the patients who have benefited from cancer immunotherapies, which are saving lives and transforming cancer medicine.
  •     Video—Immunotherapy: 5 Ways to Stop Cancer. A series of five one-minute videos with animations will explain the basics of immune-based therapies including monoclonal antibodies, checkpoint inhibitors, cancer vaccines, adoptive T cell therapy, and oncolytic viruses.
  •     Video—What Patients Should Know: Latest Cancer Immunotherapy Treatments. The upcoming American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting will once again prominently feature immunotherapy, and CRI wants patients to hear the breaking news. Moderated by Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, Ph.D., this panel of three scientists will discuss what the latest clinical research means for patients.
  •     Brochure—Immunotherapy Basics for Patients. Clear and accessible information about cancer immunotherapy for patients, made available in community oncologist offices and clinics throughout the United States.
  •     Webinars—“Breakthroughs in Cancer Immunotherapy” is a free educational webinar series hosted by CRI to help patients, caregivers, and health professionals learn more about groundbreaking research in immunotherapy. The webinars will feature CRI’s 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 http://www.cancerresearch.org/webinars or watch past webinars on YouTube.

Webinars include:

o    Melanoma Immunotherapy: What’s Next for Patients, with Antoni Ribas, M.D., Ph.D., UCLA Medical Center, May 12, 2:00pm-2:45pm

o    Emerging Concepts in Prostate Cancer Immunotherapy, with James L. Gulley, M.D., Ph.D., and Ravi A. Madan, M.D., National Cancer Institute, May 20, 3:00pm-3:45pm

o    Aiming the Immune System at Brain Cancer, with David A. Reardon, M.D., Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, June 23, 12:00pm-12:45pm

o    Getting to Cures: The Next Five Years in Immunotherapy, with Jedd D. Wolchok, M.D., Ph.D., Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, June 25, 2:00pm-2:45pm

How Community Oncologists and Nurses Can Learn More about Cancer Immunotherapy

  •     CRI will host an “Oncologist to Oncologist” webinar, where a leading oncologist will explain what cancer immunotherapy is, what it is like to treat patients with immune-based medicines, and how to handle any side effects that may come with the therapy.
  •     CRI will sponsor an Oncology Nurse Educational Program, which is designed to inform, educate, and foster the conversation around the latest advances in the field of cancer immunotherapy. The program will feature a series of four emails targeting 6,500 oncology nurses.

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

  •     Cancer Research Institute Ride to Conquer Cancer has been supported by a charitable grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb
  •     The Basics of Immunotherapy for Patients, Oncologist to Oncologist webinar, and What Patients Should Know: Latest Cancer Immunotherapy Treatments video have been supported by a charitable grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb
  •     Oncology Nurse Educational Program has been supported by an educational grant from AstraZeneca
  •     Immunotherapy: 5 Ways to Stop Cancer video has been supported by a charitable grant from Merck, known as MSD outside the U.S. and Canada
  •     Patient Stories Awareness Campaign has been supported by a charitable grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Genentech
  •     Webinar funding supported by contributions from Agenus, Amgen, and Bavarian Nordic
  •     Platinum Sponsors: AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Genentech, Merck; Gold Sponsors: Agenus, Amgen; Silver Sponsors: Bavarian Nordic, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals; Bronze Sponsor: AbbVie Biotherapeutics Inc.; Contributors: Advanced Proteome Therapeutics Inc., Celldex Therapeutics, Inc., Galena Biopharma, Inc., Nektar Therapeutics, NewLink Genetics

The Cancer Research Institute would also like to thank our collaborators and supporters:

Domestic: AIM at Melanoma, American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), Basin Holdings, Cancer Immunotherapy Consortium (CIC), Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network (CITN), Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine, Giant Creative/Strategies LLC, Hollings Cancer Center of the Medical University of South Carolina, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Immudex, Immuno-Oncology 360°, Kansas Masonic Cancer Research Institute, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Ludwig Cancer Research, Lung Cancer Alliance, Melanoma International Foundation, Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA), Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Moffitt Cancer Center, National Brain Tumor Society, Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone, Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute, The Rockefeller University, Rutledge Foundation, Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC), Solving Kids’ Cancer, Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), Stupid Cancer, TheAnswerToCancer.org, Trilogy Lacrosse, University of California, Berkeley, University of Pittsburgh, USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education & Support Network, W2O, Weill Cornell Medical College, and ZERO–The End of Prostate Cancer.

International: Association for Cancer Immunotherapy (CIMT) (Germany), Austin Health/Ludwig Cancer Research (Australia), Canadian Cancer Immunotherapy Consortium (CCIC) (Canada), Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, National University of Singapore (Singapore), Center for Immune Modulatory Therapies for Autoimmunity and Cancer (IMTAC) (Sweden), Chinese Society for Immunology (China), ecentricarts (Canada), European Academy of Tumor Immunology (EATI) (Europe), Istituto Nazionale Tumori “Pascale” (Italy), Italian Network for Tumor Biotherapy (NIBIT) (Italy), Japanese Association of Cancer Immunology (JACI) (Japan), Karolinska Institutet (KI) (Sweden), Krankenhaus Nordwest (Germany), Leiden University Medical Center (The Netherlands), McGill University (Canada), National Center for Cancer Care & Research (NCCCR) Hamad Medical Corporation (Qatar), and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute (Australia), Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands (The Netherlands), and University of Ulm (Germany).
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About the Cancer Research Institute

The Cancer Research Institute (CRI), established in 1953, is the world’s only 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 27 members of the National Academy of Sciences, CRI has invested $282 million in support of research conducted by immunologists and tumor immunologists at the world’s leading medical centers and universities, and has contributed to the key scientific advances that have made cancer immunotherapies possible today. To learn more, go to http://www.cancerresearch.org.

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Brian Brewer
@CancerResearch
since: 04/2008
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