Newman Passes, Cancer Aid Goes Global

CURE, Winter 2008, Volume 7, Issue 5

LIVESTRONG's global goal and Paul Newman.

Oscar-winning actor Paul Newman, 83, died at home surrounded by family and friends on September 26 after a long battle with cancer, according to his publicist. In addition to acting and directing, Newman was known for his philanthropic efforts, including the Hole in the Wall Camps (www.holeinthewallcamps.org) for children with cancer and other serious illnesses. Newman and author A.E. Hotchner co-founded Newman’s Own food products company in 1982, donating all profits—more than $250 million—to charity, with a large percentage going to the now 11 camps worldwide.

On September 24, Lance Armstrong announced he will return to professional cycling to promote the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Initiative (www.livestrong.org) to which LAF will commit $8 million over the next five years. The organization will work with world leaders to focus on developing international partnerships, cancer advocacy, and research.

Armstrong said the global campaign will focus on bike races in countries where work is needed to improve the lives and health of people with cancer, and whose governments are committed to these initiatives. He plans to highlight the effort next July at the first Global Cancer Summit in Paris.

After a long bout with cancer, President-elect Barack Obama’s grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, died at her home late November 2, less than two days before the historic presidential election. She was 86.

Stand Up To Cancer raised more than $100 million for cancer research projects from the time it was launched on May 28 through September 5 when ABC, NBC, and CBS simultaneously broadcast the one-hour fundraising event. Seventy percent of funds raised will go toward translational cancer research projects conducted by interdisciplinary, multi-institutional “Dream Teams,” 20 percent will support high-risk Innovative Research Grants, and 10 percent will be set aside to sustain the SU2C initiative.

The American Association for Cancer Research will provide scientific leadership, grants administration, and determine research areas and leaders of the dream teams via an expert scientific review led by a scientific advisory committee. With roughly two team leaders, eight team principals, and two advocates, each dream team must include laboratory and clinical researchers, senior and young investigators who have not worked together in the past, and all key members must be from different institutions.

According to the AACR, the funds are projected for a two- to four-year program, and the total number of dream teams will depend on the amount of funds raised through SU2C. Based on the scope of each project, total support for each dream team may reach up to $20 million; innovative research grants will provide for up to three years of funding of up to $250,000 per year. For updates on the dream teams and innovative research grants, visit www.aacr.org or www.standup2cancer.org.

Country singer Merle Haggard, 71, was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer and underwent surgery to remove the upper lobe of his right lung November 3. In a post on Haggard’s website, his wife Theresa says he is recuperating from the surgery and is “doing better and better each day.”

More than 60 cancer survivors, supporters, and musicians, including members from The Alarm, Fastball, and The Fixx, participated in the Love Hope Strength Foundation’s (www.lovehopestrength.org) “Peru Rocks,” a 10-day music-filled fundraising trek to provide cancer care to a country in need. Held in October, “Peru Rocks” had events in multiple locations throughout Peru, including a concert atop Machu Picchu. The event raised $300,000, with all proceeds benefiting INEN (National Institute of Neoplastic Diseases), the main cancer hospital in Lima.

Olympic gymnastics gold medalist Shawn Johnson performed in and co-hosted the ABC special “Frosted Pink With A Twist” on October 12. The 16-year-old granddaughter of a breast cancer survivor, Johnson has become a passionate spokesperson for breast cancer advocacy and is giving back to her grandmother by raising awareness for women’s cancers and the need to get facts and information to women about cancer risk.

American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, actress and breast cancer survivor Olivia Newton-John, and singer Pink are among the first in the line-up of celebrity guests hosts for “The Pink Channel”—the first radio channel supporting the fight against women’s cancers. Launched by Premiere Radio Networks and City of Hope, an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center, “The Pink Channel” (www.pinkchannelradio). will feature segments on health and wellness, Q&As with physicians, and weekly reports on the latest in cancer research and treatment at City of Hope.

Harald zur Hausen was awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery that the human papillomavirus (HPV) causes cervical cancer. Zur Hausen’s 10-year study led to the identification of two types of HPV in cancer patients—high-risk strands 16 and 18—ultimately contributing to the development of HPV vaccines, which provide 95 percent protection against these high-risk strands.