Cancer Institute A national cancer institute
designated cancer center

Research News

Canary Foundation and Stanford will create Center of Excellence for Cancer Early Detection Through Imaging


Celebrating Canary Foundation's $7.5 million pledge for a Center of Excellence for Cancer Early Detection Through Imaging are (from left) Gary M. Glazer, MD, Chair of Radiology; Don Litwin, CEO of Canary Foundation; Beverly S. Mitchell, MD, Cancer Center Deputy Director; Philip Pizzo, MD, Medical School Dean; and noted researcher Sam Gambhir, MD, PhD, who will head the new center



Canary Foundation, a nonprofit organization that funds research in early cancer detection, and Stanford University announced the creation of a Center of Excellence for Cancer Early Detection Through Imaging. The Center formalizes a joint interest of Canary Foundation and Stanford University’s Department of Radiology to advance molecular diagnostics with an emphasis in molecular imaging to pinpoint cancer while it is small.

This announcement also exemplifies a commitment between Canary Foundation and Stanford University’s Cancer Center, which has recently received a National Cancer Institute designation. Canary Foundation celebrates this alliance with a pledge of $7.5 million, $4 million of which will be matched by $4 million from the Department of Radiology, for a total of $11.5 million dollars for cancer early detection research. The Center of Excellence for Cancer Early Detection Through Imaging will be headed by Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, MD, PhD, Professor of Radiology & Bioengineering, and Director of the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford. 

The Center of Excellence was formally announced on May 22, at a kick-off reception for the Canary Foundation’s third annual National Early Detection Initiative Stakeholders Symposium, on May 22 to 24 at Stanford University.

“Cancer is still one of the greatest threats to our nation’s families.  But if detected early, the survival rate for cancer patients is 90 percent,” said Don Listwin, founder and CEO of Canary Foundation.  “Canary Foundation’s strategy is to pursue short-term goals by funding research that will lead to simple blood and imaging tests that can identify and isolate cancers at their earliest points, when it is most treatable and chances for full recovery are greatest.  We believe that our work with Stanford University’s Center of Excellence for Cancer Early Detection Through Imaging and the Stanford Cancer Center will pave the way to early detection, of multiple cancers that will inform all other major cancers. We are thrilled to contribute to this exciting and promising research.”

Philip Pizzo, MD, Dean of Stanford University School of Medicine says, “This type of alliance between Canary Foundation and Stanford University School of Medicine is enormously important. Canary Foundation as a nonprofit organization represents the community’s desire to find answers to cancer, which is rapidly becoming one of our nations leading health care issues. By combining our talents in innovation and discovery based research, with our commitment to advancing diagnosis, treatment and prevention, we are responding directly to that desire by partnering with Canary Foundation on these important projects.”

The specific researchers who will receive funds from Canary Foundation’s pledge will include Dr. Gambhir, whose laboratory focuses on merging advances in molecular biology with those in biomedical imaging to advance the new field of molecular imaging. These imaging approaches are leading to much better ways to diagnose and manage diseases as well as allowing fundamental studies of cancer biology in living subjects.

Gary M. Glazer, MD, Chair of Radiology, stated that "Stanford's Radiology Department has played a leading role in advancing the revolution in medical imaging, which has transformed patient care over the past several decades. The newly developing field of cellular and molecular imaging has immense promise for providing tools for the far earlier detection of cancer and the assessment of response to therapy than existing methods. We are delighted that the Canary Foundation has recognized this potential and the strengths of Stanford by generously contributing to create this Center of Excellence."

Beverly S. Mitchell, MD, Deputy Director of Stanford’s Cancer Center said, “The curability of many cancers depends on early diagnosis and rapid medical intervention. Research into methods of early detection and the validation of these methods in patients will be a major focus of the Stanford Cancer Center. This gift from Canary Foundation is an extraordinary contribution to this effort. It will allow the Center to support promising new lines of research, especially in the areas of molecular imaging, nanotechnology, and new proteomic methodologies. This research will require both creative science and clinical trials. The Cancer Center, in partnership with the Canary Foundation, will use the strength and ingenuity of its basic science and clinical faculty to make the promise of early detection of cancer a reality.”

Canary Foundation started with a focus on ovarian cancer to show the progression of early detection through biomarkers, isolating through imaging and then removing or treating cancer while it is small, but now is working also with prostate, pancreatic and lung cancers.

In addition to Dr Gambhir’s lab, another lab that will receive funds from Canary Foundation pledge will be that of Patrick Brown, PhD. His laboratory works with DNA microarrays to better understand how the molecular microenvironment influences the survival and proliferation of normal and cancer cells, with the goal of identifying patterns of gene expression that can be used to detect cancers and predict their potential for progression or response to specific therapies. Others who will receive funding include James Brooks, MD, known for his research on the treatment of prostate cancer and Simon Fredriksson, PhD, of the Stanford Genome Technology Center, who has been studying proximity ligation technology.             

Posted: 05/23/07

Stanford Medicine Resources:

Footer Links: