Letter from the Executive Director - Winter 2009
It's an exciting time for the Cancer Research Foundation (CRF). We are announcing a major new grant supporting a new and innovative research project that we believe has the potential to change not just the prognosis for a very deadly type of cancer, but also to change the way in which some cancer research is pursued.
The Cancer Research Foundation's mission is to raise funds to fund both 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.
Throughout the CRF's history, the Foundation has focused on making targeted, relatively high risk "investments" using the collective knowledge, relationships and experience of the Foundation and its allies. A good return on an investment in cancer research is one which results in a significant increase in scientific knowledge. The return is even greater when that knowledge is achieved faster due to our "early stage" philosophy over more traditional funding sources. CRF particularly seeks to fund emerging researchers and new ideas that are too new in concept or too early in their development to readily attract funding through more conventional sources. This strategy is essential to the mission of the CRF.
The strategy of promoting transformational events in science by funding "new science and new scientists in cancer research" is intended to grow in parallel tracks. For many years the Cancer Research Foundation has made a number of annual Young Investigator Awards, providing one year, one-time funding to researchers in the first part of their careers. These early years in a cancer scientist's work can be difficult; without a collection of data it can be very hard to find funding and without funding a young scientist has no means to collect data.
Conversely, the new ideas that come to scientists who have been following other lines of research are sometimes even more difficult to fund, and yet are more likely to bear significant fruit. A flexible, interested and private funding source like the CRF can allow a seasoned scientist to pursue a new idea or a new course of action that is not consistent with the work he or she has followed in the past, yet has the potential to yield tremendous results. Otherwise, a researcher can be negatively incented from pursuing new ideas because they can bring about the withdrawal of current support or may endanger the future financial support of his or her established work. Ironically, these new ideas, having been fertilized by that scientist's experience and past work, are often the best bets in terms of leading to transformational events. The interdisciplinary project in t-AML outlined in this newsletter embodies this sort of new and novel science.
Supporting innovative science is how the Cancer Research Foundation proposes to create the best "bang for the buck" to support the fight against cancer. The CRF proposes to:
- Seek funding opportunities that best represent our mission to new researchers and novel, early-stage science seeking to spark transitional events in cancer science and fund those projects using the highest standards of assessment and oversight possible
- Run as efficiently and cost effectively as possible
- Act as a conduit for information between CRF donors, researchers and other funding sources.
The CRF needs your continuing support. Although the current economy slowdown has affected us all, if anything, science has sped up. The Cancer Research Foundation provides a very important piece of funding, one which often means the difference between whether a good but unusual idea will be pursued, even though these ideas can prove to be the turning point in cancer research.
In our quest to operate in the most economic and environmental conscious manner, we seek to reduce our carbon footprint by reducing costly printing as much as possible. You can support this effort by sending us your email address. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please feel free to send this address to anyone else you think may be interested in hearing news from the CRF. The more email addresses we have, the better we can quickly get information and findings from CRF funded projects out to you.
There is a great deal going on at the Cancer Research Foundation and we want to thank you, our donors, for everything you have done and continue to do to allow the CRF to successfully pursue its mission.
"Thanks to the hard work, commitment, and compassion of scientists, researchers, and organizations like the Cancer Research Foundation, there is renewed hope for discovering better treatments and eventually a cure for cancer.
I commend all of you for your outstanding contributions to the field of cancer research. For five decades, your commitment to the crusade against cancer has given hope and comfort to people across the nation."
Former President of the United States
May 05, 1997