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March 3, 2015

New York, NY (March 3, 2015) Today, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation held the fourth annual Accelerating Cancer Cures Research Symposium. The yearly meeting is designed to encourage collaboration between cancer researchers in industry and their counterparts in academia in order to overcome many of the issues that currently impede progress against cancer.  Hosted by Lilly Oncology at the Alexandria Center™ for Life Science, New York City, the meeting included academic researchers from top universities and research institutions as well as scientists from Eli Lilly and Company, Celgene, Genentech, Merck, and Takeda Pharmaceuticals International Co.

Accelerating Cancer Cures is a unique collaboration between Damon Runyon, a prestigious cancer charity that supports cutting-edge early career cancer researchers, and leading biopharmaceutical companies.  The goal of this multi-million dollar initiative is to rebuild the ranks of specially trained physician-scientists who conduct both the innovative laboratory research necessary to identify new therapeutics and the clinical trials to bring these new treatments to patients.  By collaborating on this initiative with their competitors in the marketplace, the companies involved demonstrate their shared commitment to driving the next generation of breakthroughs in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. 

Richard B. Gaynor, MD, Senior Vice President of Global Development/Medical Affairs for Lilly Oncology, Damon Runyon Board member, and Chair of Accelerating Cancer Cures, opened the meeting by welcoming its attendees and stressing the urgency of collaboration between academia and industry at this crucial moment in cancer research.  Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD, Chief of the Melanoma and Immunotherapeutics Service and Lloyd J. Old Chair in Clinical Investigation at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, delivered a keynote address about his groundbreaking work identifying and developing new immunotherapies for advanced melanoma and other cancers.  Participants also heard research presentations from selected Damon Runyon scientists and enjoyed industry roundtable discussions on bridging the gap between academia and industry.  Lorraine Egan, President and CEO of Damon Runyon, provided opening remarks.

”It is extraordinary that industry competitors have come together to address a major obstacle to developing new treatments for cancer patients,” said Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation President and CEO, Lorraine Egan.  “Through Accelerating Cancer Cures, we are ensuring that the best young physician-scientists can continue to be the critical link between the research lab and the patients.”

Gaynor added, “This is an exciting time in cancer research with major discoveries in both genetics and immunology leading to innovative cancer therapies. Today we heard presentations from young investigators who are at the forefront of these discoveries bringing novel insights from the laboratory into the clinic. The efforts of the Damon Runyon Foundation and programs like Accelerating Cancer Cures are helping to make the hope of new cancer therapies a reality.”

Scientists from the nation’s leading research institutions, including Stanford University School of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Weill Cornell Medical College, Huntsman Cancer Institute of the University of Utah, Mayo Clinic, City of Hope, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute attended the symposium to hear presentations on a diverse range of promising research, from novel new mechanisms to identify drug targets to genomic approaches to understanding drug resistance, and to brainstorm about creative approaches to speed new treatments to cancer patients.


About Accelerating Cancer Cures

Accelerating Cancer Cures addresses the critical shortage of clinical researchers working on breakthroughs in cancer treatments and cures. Under the leadership of the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and with the support of industry and academia, this project fosters the talent desperately needed to accelerate breakthroughs in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.  

Accelerating Cancer Cures is supported by some of the world’s leading companies including:Eli Lilly and Company, Celgene, Genentech, Merck, Pfizer, and Takeda Pharmaceuticals International Co. For more information, visit

About the Foundation

To accelerate breakthroughs, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation provides today’s best young scientists with funding to pursue innovative cancer research. The Foundation supports emerging leaders who have great potential to achieve breakthroughs in how we diagnose, treat and prevent cancer. Since its founding in 1946, Damon Runyon has invested over $287 million and funded more than 3,450 young scientists.

100% of all donations to the Foundation are used to support scientific research. Its administrative and fundraising costs are paid from its Damon Runyon Broadway Tickets Service and endowment.

For more information visit