2023 Impact Report: Evolving Innovation

Friends drives scientific collaboration to create solutions for anyone impacted by cancer.

Our work bridges the gap between scientists, pharmaceutical companies, and policymakers, streamlining the current system to deliver life-saving treatments for patients.

Friends continues to shape and inform the landscape of oncology drug development and regulatory policy through collaborative and innovative initiatives. We leverage partnerships and comprehensive research efforts to address critical challenges impacting oncology drug development, offering solutions and patient care.

We are excited to share our 2023 highlights and the strides we continue to make on behalf of patients. Below is a snapshot of our 2023 policy and research programs and outcomes.


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ctMoniTR Project

We’ve shown that a minimally invasive blood test can determine if a treatment is working. 

Friends led a multi-stakeholder working group to generate data that will support the use of ctDNA as an early endpoint for treatment response, providing evidence to advance its use in regulatory decision making. Our 2023 work to evaluate ctDNA as an early endpoint will enable rapid identification of effective new cancer therapies. 

Real-World Evidence Portfolio

We set the framework for assessing tumor response to treatment in Real-World Data, resulting in important implications for data integrity and cancer care. 

Patients are treated for cancer every day, and each patient’s experience generates data on a treatment’s effectiveness and safety to provide valuable insights and knowledge to advance cancer research and improve care. These data are known as real-world data (RWD), and Friends leads critical work to advance methodology for using RWD as a research tool more effectively. In 2023 Friends made significant strides in this ongoing collaborative project, leading to the following key achievements. 

Cell & Gene Therapies

Our work in Cell & Gene Therapies has supported a new treatment paradigm to develop the next generation of cellular therapies.

Friends led multi-stakeholder discussions in 2023 to evaluate how existing data can be safely leveraged across products and between versions of engineered cell therapy products to support more efficient development, iterative product improvements, and broader access to these therapies. These policy solutions are leading to new opportunities in the development process.

Friends of Cancer Research Annual Meeting

The 16th Annual Meeting brought together leaders from federal health and regulatory agencies, academic research, the private sector, and patient advocacy to propose unique approaches to challenges in drug development. 

Education and Outreach Programs

Friends continues to empower patients through our advocacy education programs ProgressforPatients.org and Project TEACH. These programs represent the standard for regulatory education, reaching nearly 1,000 patients, advocates, and caregivers, and connecting hundreds with future opportunities to add their voice to the drug development and clinical trial process. Get involved, access our courses free-of-charge, and share these programs with anyone interested.

Read Friends 2023 Scientific Report

In 2023, Friends played a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of oncology drug development and regulatory policy. We compiled all our research and milestones from the past year into one report for you. Click below to access Friends 2023 Scientific Report.

Award Reception

In 2023, Friends honored FDA Commissioner Robert Califf with the Ellen V. Sigal Advocacy Award. Additionally, we celebrated our 2nd Marlene A. Malek Public Service Award recipient, Representative Debbie Dingell.

A special thank you to our 2023 Sponsors.

Friends’ 2023 Impact Report reflects your commitment to our work for patients. On behalf of our organization, thank you for your continued partnership and support in these important endeavors.

A special thank you to our Board of Directors, partners, and supporters, who made this critical work possible.

We look forward to working with you in 2024.

Ellen V. Sigal, PhD
Chair & Founder

Marlene A. Malek, RN
Vice Chair & Co-founder

Jeff Allen, PhD
President & CEO