We've Got Hollywood Covered

Stand Up to Cancer Announces First Round of Dream Team Funding

I love show business!


Because of the unprecedented commitment of the three major networks, ABC, NBC and CBS; the talent and dedication of an incomparable live television production team; and the participation of over 100 celebrities from television, movies, music sports and journalism, Stand Up to Cancer, a movement launched one year ago today, is announcing the first round of SU2C Dream Team Funding.


These will be three year grants — totaling 73.6 million dollars to five multi-institutional, cross disciplinary research teams that will attack cancer with a vengeance.


One year ago today, nine women in the entertainment business, each of whom had been profoundly touched by cancer, came together with a dream to make curing and managing cancer a first-tier issue in this country and raise money to get better treatments to patients faster.


Sherry Lansing, Lisa Paulsen, Ellen Ziffren, Katie Couric, Kathleen Lobb, Noreen Fraser, Rusty Robertson, Sue Schwartz and I knew the unacceptable statistics: that 1500 Americans will die today, and everyday from cancer.


That’s one per minute. And that 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women would be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes.


To quote Paddy Chayefksy’s famous line, we were “mad as hell,” and we decided to do something about it.


That something became the Stand Up to Cancer movement. We kicked it off with an extraordinary PSA directed by David Fincher featuring Morgan Freeman, Lance Armstrong, Susan Sarandon, Keanu Reeves, Tilda Swinton, Jodie Foster, Sidney Poitier, Tobey Maguire, Casey Affleck, Tony Hawk, Christina Ricci, Christy Turlington Burns, Itzhak Perlman with his students, and Elle Fanning.


We then launched standup2cancer.org which featured our constellation where users can dedicate a star in honor of someone they love who been touched by cancer, and our facebook application, The Stand.


Comedians such as Larry David, Sarah Silverman, and Jon Stewart created videos for us as did Funny or Die and the cast from the Daily Show. All of this led up to the September 5th three network, commercial free roadblock show that raised over 100 million dollars for cancer research.


And now we have reached another landmark. The goal is in sight. The formation of the SU2C Dream teams is facilitating unprecedented levels of collaboration across the top research centers in the US and worldwide.


We have heard consistently from authoritative sources in the medical and research community that SU2C has the potential to have a transformational effect on the way cancer research gets done and may become a model emulated by other funders. SU2C’s next round of grants—for young, individual, innovative investigators will be announced later this year.


The teams we have put together have the potential to produce significant advances in the diagnosis and treatment of an array of cancer types that account for an astounding 2/3 of all U.S. deaths from the disease and to move from the lab to the clinic where they can benefit patients as quickly as possible.


So, I love show business. I love the spirit of our community and its willingness to come together and bring important issues to the fore. Scientists, celebrities, baseball players, little kids, grandparents — all of you have joined the fight.


Here’s to the first SU2C Dream Teams. This is where the end of cancer begins.


Please visit standup2cancer.org and meet the first SU2C Dream Teams. Learn how you can get involved. Join us. And please, check out the First-Ever SU2C Birthday Party Twitterhunt at @SU2C on Twitter! Celebrity Signed SU2C Birthday Gifts are hidden in iconic spots all across the US! Have fun!

Laura Ziskin is one of Hollywood’s leading independent producers and studio executives. This year, she produced the third chapter in the "Spider-Man" film series. In 2007, Ziskin produced the Academy Awards for the second time and instituted the first ever “Green” Oscar ceremony. She has been actively involved in issues that concern both the environment and families, having served on the board of Americans for a Safe Future, the National Council of Jewish Women and Education First. In addition, she has been honored by Senator Barbara Boxer as a Woman Making History and by the City of Hope as Woman of the Year. She has also been honored with Premiere Magazine’s Women in Hollywood award, the Big Sisters of Los Angeles Sterling Award, Women In Film’s Crystal Award and The Producers Guild of America’s David O. Selznick Award.