Mission: The Cancer Research Institute (CRI) is the world's only nonprofit organization dedicated soley to advancing immunological research leading to the development of immune system-based treatments for cancer. CRI provides funding and coordination to support all levels of research in immunology and tumor immunology, from basic studies to clinical investigation of promising new cancer treatments.
Results: CRI has conducted more than 40 early stage clinical trials of unique cancer vaccines, and has made significant contributions to our knowledge of the human immune response to cancer immunotherapy. CRI researchers have also identified numerous cancer cell markers that are now being tested as targets for immunotherapy. CRI has empowered academic investigators around the world to conduct important clinical discovery, accelerating the translation of new knowledge into treatments for cancer patients.
Target demographics: Under the leadership of our Scientific Advisory Council, which includes 4 Nobel Laureates and 28 members of the National Academy of Sciences, CRI funds academic research in immunology and tumor immunology at universities and health research centers around the world.
Direct beneficiaries per year: Approximately 300 scientists and clinicians in 15 countries
Geographic areas served: National, International
Programs: Clinical Research: *Cancer Vaccine Collaborative, a joint program with the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, that supports a network of 19 academic clinical trial sites and immune monitoring laboratories around the world conducting early phase clinical trials of the most promising cancer immunotherapies; *the Cancer Immunotherapy Consortium, an association of more than 70 pharmaceutical & biotech companies and academic institutions engaged in late-stage product development that work together to shape the emerging field of immuno-oncology; *Cancer Vaccine Acceleration Fund, a unique venture philanthropy model designed to partner our clinical trials network with companies and their promising vaccine reagents.
Basic Research & Training: *Investigator Award program, providing 4 years of bridge support to newly established laboratories at universities; *Irvington Fellowship Program, provides 3 years of postdoctoral fellowship funding to talented scientists working under the mentorship of leading immunologists; *Predoctoral Pathways program, offering 4-year grants to universities to establish tumor immunology educational curriculum for graduate students.
I was fortunate to receive a CRI Career Award when I was just starting my lab at the University of Washington. This funding provided me the latitude to pursue ideas that were too risky to compete for NIH funding. This permitted me to develop a line of investigation that continues to prove fruitful and important.
The Cancer Research Institute has been the fundamental body that has globally underpinned the whole discipline of cancer immunology. In Australia we have benefited from their graduate teaching program. It has funded a whole generation of Australia's next research leaders in cancer immunology.
As a recipient of CRI's predoctoral fellowship, I had the fortunate experience to attend the annual scientific symposium sponsored by CRI which brings exceptional basic scientists in the fields of immunology and cancer biology together with oncologists tasked to implement novel immunotherapies. This conferences highlight CRI's great vision of sponsoring research at a fundamental level as well as supporting translational research.
My experience of CRI as a beneficiary of their funding program has shown me how dedicated they are to find novel and effective cures for cancer. One of the few charities that I know of that understand the relevance of basic research in order to further cancer therapy. Moreover conferences and fundraisers sponsored by them go a long way in helping to translate cutting edge science into therapy.
I give this organization my top rating because I am very familiar with the work they do. I was a participant in a cancer vaccine trial that was underwritten by the Cancer Research Institute. I know that this trial would not have happened without the research grant from CRI.
As a result of the clinical trial I participated in 7 years ago, I am still in remission from ovarian cancer today, and I am extremely grateful to CRI for their support of this small research study.
I have also had the opportunity to meet their staff and attend some fundraising events. They have a lean, well run organization with an admirably high percentage of funds going directly to grants for cancer immunotherapy research. I have also personally met several of the research scientists they support, and these are internationally known researchers with excellent credentials. They all say how important the financial support of CRI has been in making it possible to conduct their groundbreaking studies.
CRI has a fascinating website too, with some really great information on recent advances in cancer immunotherapy. Some of the current successes out there now such as Gardisil (cervical cancer vaccine) and Provenge (prostate cancer vaccine) came from researcher studies CRI helped to underwrite. A recently approved vaccine to prevent recurrence in melanoma is the latest CRI supported research effort on its way to the consumer market. So they are really accomplishing a lot.
This is a first-rate charity. It is one of the few I would actually contribute money to, because of their great track record in supporting cancer immunotherapy research, the many successes that have come out of the studies they help to fund, and the high standards they meet as a charitable organization.