Cancer Research Foundation

Research: The Best Hope Against Cancer

Chicago, IL   |  www.cancerresearchfdn.org

Mission

The Cancer Research Foundation's mission is to raise funds to support early-career cancer scientists and new directions in cancer science research with the goal of contributing to "Transformational Events" in the prevention, treatment and cure for cancer.

Ruling year info

2017

CEO

Mr. Matthew Moy Johnson

Main address

PO Box 493

Chicago, IL 60690 USA

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EIN

36-2385213

NTEE code info

Cancer Research (H30)

Cancer (G30)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (E05)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The National Cancer Institute estimates that 38.4% of all men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes. In 2017 it is estimated that 15,270 children and adolescents ages 0 to 19 were diagnosed with cancer and 1,790 died of the disease. These statistics show us the need for new discoveries in cancer research is just as necessary today as it was in 1947, when the Cancer Research Foundation was founder. Further, many larger institutions and agencies committed to funding science simply cannot support research until primary data has already been collected. The CRF focuses funding on these needed first data sets, supporting early career investigators and innovative ideas in cancer. By leveraging smaller more directed grants to support novel hypotheses, we seek to fund “high-risk, high reward” science that is most likely to create real change in cancer science.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

CRF Young Investigator Award

The Young Investigator Awards are research grants to be awarded to men and women during the first two years of their initial faculty appointment (instructor, assistant professor) who have not yet received significant external support at the time of submission. These awards are designed to nurture young scientists in the pursuit of independent hypotheses, and to enable them to develop the preliminary data necessary to successfully compete for major research grants.

The award is $75,000, to be awarded in two installments. The Cancer Research Foundation publishes guidelines for the submission of applications each year in the Spring. Applications are due in time to be reviewed at the fall Cancer Research Foundation Board Meeting.

Population(s) Served

In 1988, the Foundation received a generous gift from the estate of Eugene and Dorothy S. Fletcher to be used expressly for laboratory research. The gift established the Fletcher Scholars Program, which provides two year funding to individual senior cancer scientists who wish to undertake cancer research of exceptional importance, outside of their current research aims.

Population(s) Served

The Small Cell Lung Cancer Project is a $1 million dollar team science initiative the University of Chicago focused on mobilizing teams of internationally recognized cancer specialists to generate an all-out attack on small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and drive forward advances in cancer care overall. The CRF grant will bring together leaders in cancer research and care, clinical trials, immunology, drug development, nanotechnology, computation, genomics and pathology.

The focus on small cell lung cancer is the result of a number of opportunities and situations coming together in a complementary way. SCLC is one of a difficult group of stubborn, intractable cancers that have been left behind, as the standard of cancer care has advanced and researchers have made great strides in cancer medicine. It is a particularly virulent and fast moving cancer characterized by aggressive metastasis and a dire prognosis. There has been almost no improvement or change to the standard of care for SCLC in the last 30 years. This three-year initiative, anchored at the University of Chicago, will encompass five collaborative projects aimed at targeted, game-changing treatments for SCLC, as well as initiating trials on new treatment protocols and investigating novel cancer mechanisms and indicators.

Much of effective cancer research in the past has resulted from the analysis of tumors removed from cancer sufferers through surgery or pre-surgical biopsies. Sadly, SCLC is asymptomatic in its early stages and then quickly spreads beyond its initial site. This deadly combination effectively eliminates surgery as a therapeutic response for SCLC. An unfortunate side-effect from the non-use of surgery is that cancer researchers have had very few lines of SCLC tumor cells with which to conduct their research. Newly discovered techniques using bronchoscopes now enable physicians to harvest SCLC tumor cells with minimal inconvenience, pain or danger to the patient. Access to these cells will enable personalized treatments for the individual patient in the future and will provide critically needed material for the research activities included in the SCLC project. Senior researchers specializing in diverse fields such as immunology, nanotechnology and protein analysis will bring their own expertise to bear on SCLC and will look for new ways to block and respond to SCLC progression. An already established clinical trial infrastructure at UChicago will speed discoveries and new data directly to patients.

This undertaking will be among the first research efforts to benefit from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Genomic Data Commons, a first-of-its-kind cloud-based computational system under development at UChicago. The NCI Genomic Data Commons is consolidating cancer genetic data from sequencing studies nationwide into a single, searchable repository to speed up discovery and produce quicker breakthroughs for patients.

Our hope is that the Cancer Research Foundation will make a real difference in the treatment and survival of this terrible and deadly form of cancer. But, we are also optimistic that this project will be important to more than just those clinicians and patients dealing with SCLC. We anticipate that SCLC will be useful as a “stand-in” for other small cell and recalcitrant cancers and that the project will yield information and new therapies that can be applied broadly to other types of cancer.

This project, combining a number of different but complementary scientific initiatives, exemplifies the CRF’s strategic approach to philanthropy in cancer research: moving quickly to back smart scientists with novel ideas that have the potential to deliver outsize impact in saving lives. Our strategy is focused on funding both researchers and science at a point when funding can be hard to come by and yet relatively small amounts have the potential to move cancer knowledge forward.

Population(s) Served

In 2009 the CRF pledged to give the University of Chicago $3 million dollars over the next three years to kick off a six-part, systems biology-based interdisciplinary attack on therapy-based Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a secondary cancer that strikes 8 to 10% of cancer survivors. The five year program will include high-throughput genomic screening, work in blood stem cells, clinical trials and high-level informatics, all focused on the same disease and pursued at the same time in a coordinated manner. While the primary goal of this project is to find answers surrounding this terrible disease, the hope is that by applying a systems-based approach to cancer research, the project will be able to change the way that cancer science is pursued.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

More than 70 years ago, our founder, Maurice Goldblatt, asked himself “What would the world look like if cancer were no longer the disease it is today?” To answer that question, the Cancer Research Foundations strives to create the greatest possible opportunities for major breakthroughs in cancer science by leveraging money where financial support is needed most – and doing it in the most efficient way possible. One way we do this is by supporting young investigators, early career cancer scientists who face a real danger of not finding funding for primary data sets. This is often one of the most difficult points in a young researcher’s career; if a young investigator does not find funding, he or she might never get the chance to make the next great breakthrough in cancer science. However, many funding sources will not consider proposals without a primary data set. Our goal is to bridge that gap and support scientists when they first start pursing an idea and funding is difficult.

The Cancer Research Foundation is dedicated to supporting innovation in cancer science and backing the application of new minds and original ideas to discover novel and more efficient ways to prevent, treat and cure cancer. For more than 70 years, the Cancer Research Foundation has been instrumental in supporting research and science leading to important discoveries that have reduced suffering and extended life. Our strategy is to provide funding to scientists much in the same way a venture capitalist provides seed money to a new and exciting idea or entrepreneur, making early stage grants that are focused on novel ideas and new technologies which may be still too risky for more traditional science funders.

Throughout our history, the Cancer Research Foundation’s grants have been guided by the desire to fund “tomorrow’s big discoveries” in cancer. We support researchers studying cancer, young scientists searching for new directions, and senior scientists poised on the brink of new discovery. Our greatest capability springs from our history and our track record in funding cancer. Not only have we supported early career scientists who have gone on to become leaders in cancer research, we maintain relationships with our past grantees and they help inform our future funding decisions. We also maintain strong connections with the NCI recognized Comprehensive Cancer Centers at which we have funded more than 180 scientists. Our grants are not restricted to only one type of cancer or one field of science, which allow us to help new technologies and novel ideas enter cancer science, from fields like data science, molecular engineering and biochemistry.

We are proud to have been involved in major discoveries in scientific fields as varied as early imaging and personalized proteomics. The CRF was an early supporter of Dr. Janet Rowley, who discovered the first consistent chromosome translocations in human cancer and showed the world that cancer could be a genetic disease. Today, Cancer Research Foundation funded scientists are focused on identifying the particular mutations that lead to genetic cancer predisposition. This is just one of many instances where CRF funding has supported the arc of cancer knowledge at multiple points. From the beginning, the CRF has supported ground breaking cancer science by funding scientists who might otherwise be caught in the “catch 22” of having a new idea but no support to fund the data required to secure funding. The landscape of cancer treatment, prevention and cure has changed radically since we started funding cancer science and our support has been important in many of those changes.

Financials

Cancer Research Foundation
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Cancer Research Foundation

Board of directors
as of 08/10/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Alexandra Nikitas

Stanford Goldblatt

Winston & Strawn

Merle Goldblatt Cohen

Lisa Cohen Schenkman

Lisa Schenkman Interiors

Troy Noard

PSP Capital Partners

David Kinnear

Kinnear Family Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors

J. Michael Locke

Rodney Goldstein

Frontenac Company

Kory Kozlowski

Jeremy Goldblatt

Thomas Shields

Michael Freed

Alexandra Nikitas