Following our look at the pledge about the 80% by 2018 screening goal, we look at the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance and their collaboration with the Entertainment Industry Foundation.
Katie Couric and Lilly Tartikoff co-founded the NCCRT in March of 2000. As stated on the NCCRT.org website, the research alliance is dedicated to the education of colorectal cancer by promoting the importance of early medical screening and funding research to develop better test, treatments, and ultimately a cure.
Couric and Tartikoff have teamed up with the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF). The EIF was formerly known as Permanent Charities Committee, which was created in 1942 by Hollywood heavyweights – Samuel Goldwyn, Humphery Bogart, James Cagney, and the Warner brothers. They had a vision to bring together Hollywood’s generous giving in order to maximize the amount of charitable money raised annually and guarantee that worthy charities receive these contributions.
Today, the EIF funds more than 300 charitable organizations throughout the nation and has grown to a $100 million charitable organization. As for the NCCRT, they have raised over $33 million to fund colorectal cancer research, promote colorectal cancer screening, and support gastrointestinal care. EIF’s NCCRA funding supports cutting-edge research at several leading institutions conducted by world-class scientists.
For example, Dennis J. Slamon, M.D., Ph.D from the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and David Geffen of the School of Medicine at UCLA with EIF seed funding had research at the Jonsson Cancer Center at UCLA focus on studying specific genetic alterations associated with the development and progression of colorectal cancer.
Robert J. Mayer, M.D. from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School – with EIF funding – started a program called “Open Doors to Health.” The program is a randomized controlled trial being conducted in 12 low-income housings sites in the metropolitan Boston area with the goal of determining how best to increase colon cancer screening and prevention among diverse, low-income communities.
Lastly, Dr. Raymond DuBois’s research – initially at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and now at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center – has focused on developing better options for the prevention and early detection of colon cancer. Dr. Dubois’ findings could be potentially important clinically because antibodies directed against genes may be useful for the treatment of patients with colorectal cancer. According to Dr. DuBois, carrying out this kind of experiment is very high risk and would not be supported by other funding mechanisms. Thus, the support from EIF has been crucial.
Knowing that there are quite a few organizations and foundations raising and funding for research and cures should give you a brighter gleam of hope. People all around are opening their eyes to the fight of colon cancer and we as a whole will fight side by side.