The past year brought uncertainty and challenges that would have been hard to imagine. We are proud to say that even during this adversity, Friends of Cancer Research expanded our critical work for patients.
Our growing research partnerships represent new collaborative models and are catalyzing science in a way that no single organization could achieve alone. Our policy initiatives are leading to meaningful changes that accelerate the development of new medicines for patients. We do this by bringing together diverse partners — even competitors at times — toward collaborative, science-based solutions and build new models to accelerate cancer research and treatment.
We are proud to share with you our 2020 highlights and the strides we continue to make on behalf of patients and their loved ones. As we review our accomplishments of the past year, and look to the future of what we need to achieve, we would like to thank our Board of Directors, supporters, and partners, without whom our critical work for patients would not be possible.
As we embark on our 25th year, we’re going to keep moving the field forward toward personalized treatments, patient-centered healthcare, and the next generation of breakthrough therapies. We’ll continue to lift up the next generation of scientists and policymakers, and help guide science from idea to reality for patients.
Jeff Allen, PhD
President & CEO
Ellen V. Sigal, PhD
Chair & Founder
Marlene A. Malek, RN
Vice Chair & Co-founder
We Know Who We Work For
Friends has spent decades at the forefront of cancer research, uniting scientists, experts, advocates, and patients to improve meaningful cooperation. In 2020, together, we kept the field moving forward by pursuing personalized treatments, patient-centered healthcare, and the next generation of breakthrough therapies.
Our Power of Collaboration
attendees joined our events in 2020 to share, listen, and advocate
increase in the number of attendees at our events between 2019 and 2020
breakthrough therapy designations granted
active partnerships and growing
With Your Partnership, We Continue to Drive Progress…
We know that science, research, and policy are essential for patients, which is why we empower the next generation of pioneers. We advocate for smarter science and regulations to cultivate progress and discover new paths for innovation to succeed. In the process, we are proud to work alongside leaders in our field, doing whatever we can to advance cancer research and treatment.
Leading Groundbreaking Science
- ctMoniTR — the largest-scale scientific endeavor in our history — breaks new ground and expands scope moving into 2021 to verify whether blood markers can be used as a rapid tool for assessing oncology treatment success in lung cancer as well as other cancer types
- Tumor Mutational Burden (TMB) Harmonization Project yields an innovative approach to drug and diagnostic development as Friends works toward ensuring consistent identification of patients who are likely to respond to immuno-oncology therapies
- Real-World Evidence (RWE) Pilot 2.0 Project identifies new endpoints to accelerate research through future drug development programs and regulatory decision making
- A unique collaboration launches to harmonize assessment of complex biomarkers as a key to new medicines through a consortium of key healthcare partners
Advancing Innovative Policy from Idea to Reality
- Friends’ research culminates in MODERN Labeling Act, a bipartisan effort that addresses the prevalence of outdated medical labels, ensuring that prescribers, caregivers, and patients have up-to-date information at their fingertips
- 13th Annual Meeting brings interdisciplinary leaders together to discuss critical issues in the development of new oncology drugs such as expedited development programs and the use of accelerated approval
Breaking Down Barriers & Accelerating Progress
- Empowering black women’s participation in clinical trials through Project TEACH, an education and outreach initiative, in partnership with the Black Women’s Health Imperative and Stand Up To Cancer
- Expanding eligibility criteria to allow clinical trials to be more inclusive and accessible, building upon ongoing work to increase representation and simplify trial operations
- Expanding research with COVID-19 Evidence Accelerator, a public-private partnership launched by the Reagan-Udall Foundation for the FDA in collaboration with Friends to accelerate critical knowledge-sharing in the sprint to save lives during the global pandemic
Listening, Sharing, & Advocating through Virtual Events
- Our 24th Annual Cancer Leadership Reception goes virtual and draws record attendance with 1,500 registrants as well as nearly 500 replays of the event recording and featuring expert voices such as Dr. Francis Collins and Dr. Anthony Fauci
- July symposiums explore the future of complex biomarkers as critical tools in drug development and how the TMB Harmonization Project could be a model for future initiatives
- Biopharma Congress expands in a digital series featuring conversations with CBER Director Peter Marks and Friends’ CEO Jeff Allen to continue identifying key policy issues
Looking to the Future
- Expanding Friends’ largest scientific endeavors to unlock new frontiers in personalized medicine via our innovative research partnerships
- Partnering with a new Administration and Congress to ensure forthcoming policy prioritizes patients
- Charting a new role in patient engagement as we commit to further empowerment through education on clinical trials and confidence in science
- Convening leaders across the biomedical landscape to design solutions to the most pressing challenges facing cancer research
The past year presented ample challenges, yet it also led us to bring our community together in new and exciting ways. These experiences affirmed the importance of the work in which we engage, every day, on behalf of patients, caregivers, and families. As we look ahead to 2021, our 25th anniversary year, we will mark this milestone with gratitude for our colleagues and supporters and with certainty that our work does indeed make a difference.