A number of leading pharmaceutical companies are supporting a collaborative initiative in the US that aims to replenish the stocks of young clinical investigators working in oncology and to promote translational research spanning academia and industry.

Accelerating Cancer Cures is a US$25 million programme that will fund and train over 50 physician-scientists in clinical oncology research. More than US$5 million to date has pledged towards the fund by biopharmaceutical companies such as Eli Lilly, Celgene, Merck, Millennium (Takeda) and Pfizer, as well as industry association The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

The initiative builds on the existing Clinical Investigator Award programme run by the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. The new funding from Accelerating Cancer Cures will increase the number of Clinical Investigator Awards to 10 a year.

At its recent spring 2011 Clinical Investigator Award Committee review, the Foundation granted a total of US$3.45 million to five early-career physician-scientists conducting patient-oriented cancer research, and to four Damon Runyon Clinical Investigators approaching the end of their original awards and needing extra time and funding to complete promising research or initiate/continue a clinical trial.

Translational emphasis

The new programme has a marked emphasis on translational research and working with industry. Accelerating Cancer Cures will:

-     Fund the work of early career physician-scientists to address the “critical” shortage of young scientists entering the clinical oncology research field in the US.          


-     Provide these investigators with access to senior oncology executives and leaders in academic cancer research to help them translate discoveries into therapies.        

-     Create opportunities for the investigators to collaborate with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and to learn about industry research as visiting scientists.                    


-     Foster collaboration between researchers by hosting an annual translational research summit bringing together young scientists and leaders from industry and academia.

“Accelerating Cancer Cures is an opportunity to build a new generation of leaders in clinical cancer research that not only produce exceptional science, but can work with industry to bring new treatments to patients,” commented John Castellani, president and chief executive officer of PhRMA.