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Farrah Fawcett Foundation Funds Cancer Research Team

Apr 8 2014, 10:04am CDT | by , in News | Other Stuff

The Farrah Fawcett Foundation along with several other organizations has funded an HPV-related cancer research team.

Farrah Fawcett Foundation Funds Cancer Research Team
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Farrah Fawcett Foundation Funds Cancer Research Team

Farrah Fawcett Foundation Funds Cancer Research Team
Getty Images

Several groups which included the Farrah Fawcett Foundation (FFF), Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) proclaimed the creation of a research team on HPV-related cancers. 

Among these SU2C and FFF will make a donation of $1.2 million spread out over a three year period starting from the present time. The list of HPV-related cancers includes in its purview cancers of the anus, cervix, head and neck. Over 30,000 scourges of death attack people in the United States each year. 

"It's estimated that more than 30,000 HPV-associated cancers occur each year in the United States alone," said Sherry Lansing, SU2C co-founder, founder of the Sherry Lansing Foundation, and chairperson of the Entertainment Industry Foundation Board of Directors. "Research into new therapies that will benefit patients is urgently needed."

Farrah was especially committed to eradicating these cancers. Her namesake foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for these cancers. The choices of vaccines, chemotherapy and immunotherapeutic measures are all lined up for consideration. 

"Farrah was committed to the struggle against anal cancer and other forms of cancer," said Alana Stewart, chief executive officer and president of the Farrah Fawcett Foundation. "We are very pleased to continue Farrah's legacy by supporting this important scientific initiative."

Especially, vaccines hold promise for the conquering of these tenacious forms of cancer. Ultimately, they act as a catalyst and speed up the reaction of immune antibodies to act against HPV cancer cells. 

And while the present vaccines do prevent disease in those patients who remain unexposed, they do not work in exposed ones. A highly advanced methodology has been introduced to help beat this particular cancer. Tags or epitopes found on cancer cells are employed to kill the cells via cytolytic T lymphocytes (CTLs). 

Hopes are high that this approach will be less toxic to individuals and will cause fewer complications than traditional chemotherapy. Chemotherapy has some pretty nasty side effects. Tiredness, alopecia and chronic pain are just three of the most obvious ones. 

Our mother Paulette passed away in 2010 at the age of 53 after being treated for HPV-related anal cancer with the same, antiquated chemotherapy cocktail first administered to patients in the 1970s," said Justine Almada, executive director of the HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation. "By collaborating with other organizations who share our urgency for a cure, we hope to overcome barriers to therapeutic progress and end the suffering caused by HPV, which causes 5 percent of all cancers worldwide."

The goal of the whole endeavor is humanitarian. It seeks ameliorative means of easing the misery of patients of HPV-related cancers. The fact that with the advancement and progress of humanity some very powerful carcinogenic agents have been released into the environment is cause for concern. 

"Our project involves the development of vaccines that stimulate specific immune cells to attack HPV-driven cancer cells," said Reinherz. "While current vaccines effectively prevent HPV infection from taking place in unexposed individuals, they are unable to offer protection to those already exposed subjects either at risk of developing a tumor or with an existing cancer. Our vaccine is uniquely designed to attack the cancers even after tumor formation and, importantly, without causing collateral damage to normal tissues. The strategy is to 1) identify the tumor target, 2) activate specific immune cells, and 3) deploy these effectors at the tumor site for selective destruction of the cancer."

Besides precaution there are the steps that have to be taken after the cancer has begun its ravaging effects. It is here that these organizations want to work their magic via research that gets translated into practical results. The project will hopefully start in July 2014. 

"We are focusing in particular on patients with an HPV-driven cancer who have relapsed after their initial therapy," said Haddad. "These patients have few therapeutic options today, and we aim to provide a new and targeted approach to improving outcomes for them. Our expectation is that a therapeutic vaccine would also be less toxic than conventional chemotherapy currently being used in clinical practice."      

 

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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