Thanks for speaking to us today. Could you please start by telling us a bit about your foundation and its aims?
The Caring for Carcinoid Foundation aggressively funds research in pursuit of cures and effective treatments for patients with carcinoid, pancreatic neuroendocrine, and related neuroendocrine cancers. There are about 100,000 Americans living with neuroendocrine tumors and the incidence is rising for reasons not well-understood. These are poorly understood and unpredictable cancers for which there are no FDA-approved cures, few FDA-approved treatment options, and no uniform national standards of care.
Founded in 2005 by metastatic carcinoid cancer patient Nancy Lindholm in response to the lack of treatment options for neuroendocrine cancer patients, the Caring for Carcinoid Foundation is the most focused and deliberate funder of neuroendocrine cancer research. CFCF has awarded over $10 million in research grants to leading scientists at renowned institutions throughout the US and UK. Supported by an outstanding Board of Scientific Advisors, CFCF is guided by a research roadmap focusing on molecular biology, translational science, and genomics. It is our thinking that a balance of research in these three areas will move us most effectively from discovery to treatment, and hopefully even to cures.
What are you hoping to achieve with this challenge?
The current lack of validated cell lines has recently been identified as a “crushing” problem for the field of neuroendocrine cancer research. Multiple cell lines that reliably recapitulate the behavior of neuroendocrine cancers are critically needed in order to move many necessary elements of carcinoid and neuroendocrine research, including early phase drug testing. Our hope is to generate a collection of viable ileal carcinoid and pancreatic neuroendocrine cell lines that can be readily accessed by researchers worldwide to expand knowledge and improve treatment for patients.
If the challenge is successful, what will the impact be on present and future Carcinoid Cancer patients and researchers?
The benefit of a cell line collection would be profound and has the potential to greatly improve the outlook for neuroendocrine tumor patients. Cancer cell lines have proven to be invaluable tools in studying many cancers and identifying genes that drive cancer growth. They are necessary for many of the most important cancer research experiments, including early phase drug testing and therapy development.
Because experiments on cultured human cells pose no risk to patients, scientists can use cell lines in screening for novel cancer therapies. With so few treatment options currently available for neuroendocrine tumor patients, cell lines and the research they enable have the potential for major impact.
Any final words of encouragement for our Solvers?
Thank you for taking the time to explore this exciting challenge. We are optimistic that through this approach we will be able to fill a void in neuroendocrine cancer research, which will benefit our patients. We look forward to seeing what innovative approaches you have to this challenging problem.
The challenge can be found here in our Challenge Center.