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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

LOS ANGELES—Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) announced today a groundbreaking initiative to increase minority representation in cancer clinical trials. All future SU2C-supported research grant proposals will now be required to include and address crucial issues related to recruitment and retention of patients from ethnic groups to improve diverse participation in cancer clinical trials. The announcement was made at Stand Up To Cancer's annual Scientific Summit, which is attended by SU2C's leadership and 300+ prominent cancer researchers representing each of SU2C's Dream Teams, Research Teams and individual grants.

The lack of diverse participation in cancer clinical trials has been ongoing for decades, largely due to socio-economic, cultural, trust and other barriers.

"As one of the leading funders of cancer research, we believe it is our duty to ensure that minority representation in cancer clinical trials is addressed. Now, more than ever, better understanding of the role of biology in cancer treatment, advances in precision treatment, and development of new technologies demands that we also make significant improvements in diverse clinical trial participation," said SU2C CEO Sung Poblete, PhD, RN. "We are confident that this initiative will make a significant and meaningful impact to ensure all communities have equal access to potentially life-saving treatments."

Despite an overall decline in U.S. cancer deaths since 1991, not all patients have benefited equally from advances in prevention, early detection, precision medicine and targeted cancer treatments. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, currently only four percent of clinical trial participants are Black, and four percent are Hispanic, and 15 percent are Asian, despite minority groups overall in the U.S. having both the highest death rate and shortest survival rate for most cancers.

SU2C's Committee for Health Equity in Cancer Clinical Trials in collaboration with SU2C scientific leadership, has developed procurement language that will now be used to solicit proposals for SU2C Dream Teams, Research Teams and other grants in the SU2C research portfolio to increase diverse participation in cancer clinical trials. SU2C now requires applicants for funding to include three critical components related to health equity:

In addition, Stand Up To Cancer announced plans to fund up to $6.4MM for the SU2C Health Equity Breakthroughs Research Team researching cancers affecting underrepresented populations, supported by a transformational grant from Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. SU2C is expected to issue the [Request for Applications seeking proposals later in the first quarter of 2020. Proposals may address cancers that have a higher prevalence in a specific racial or ethnic population; cancers that are more deadly among specific minority populations; or may address the need for more effective treatments for specific cancers for patients of diverse backgrounds.

The SU2C Health Equity Breakthroughs Research Team will be selected and launched in 2020. For information, or to receive the Call for Ideas when it is issued, please visit "Funding Opportunities." To learn more about Genentech's efforts in this area, please visit "Advancing Inclusive Research."

While gastric (stomach) cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer death worldwide, it is more common in Black, Hispanic, and Asian people than in white populations. New ways are needed to detect these cancers early, when they can be successfully treated. This $3MM Research Team is conducting intensive studies to identify biomarkers, such as particular bits of DNA, and cells shed from the tumor that circulate in the blood system and indicate the presence of gastric cancer. Team members have developed a new detection technology, extending the use of a pill-sized camera that can be swallowed by the patient using a new marker to "light up" cancer cells, allowing the camera to capture images of stomach tissue at risk of developing cancer. If validated in a clinical trial, these methods will help doctors screen people in groups at risk of gastric cancer.  To learn more about the SU2C Gastric Cancer Interception Research Team, visit https://tinyurl.com/uus8dp8 .