National Foundation for Cancer Research

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National Foundation for Cancer Research
Founded 1973
Founder Dr. Albert Szent-Györgyi and Franklin Salisbury, Sr.
Focus "Cancer Research"
Area served
United States
Key people
Franklin C. Salisbury, Jr., CEO
Sujuan Ba, Ph.D., President & Chief Operating Officer
Kwok Leung, Ph.D., Chief Financial Officer


The National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) was founded in 1973 to support cancer research and public education relating to prevention, earlier diagnosis, better treatments and ultimately, a cure for cancer. NFCR promotes and facilitates collaboration among scientists to accelerate the pace of discovery from bench to bedside.

The NFCR has funded nearly 50 laboratories worldwide. From day one, NFCR has stood apart from larger cancer charities and government science funding institutions because we support the cutting edge research that those other groups can't and won't fund. NFCR is dedicated to supporting "high risk/high reward" cancer research and public education relating to prevention, early diagnosis, better treatments and, ultimately, a cure for cancer.

With the help of 4.5 million individual donors over the last 40 years, NFCR has delivered more than $320 million in funding to cancer research leading to numerous breakthroughs, including prevention strategies, earlier diagnostic techniques, and new anticancer drugs and therapies. Just recently, NFCR supported scientists have made impactful progresses that could save lives.

Research by Dr. Wei Zhang and colleagues at the NFCR Center for Cancer Systems Informatics at MD Anderson in Houston may explain why glioblastoma tumors – the deadliest form of brain cancer – are resistant to drugs targeting the critical gene EGFR. The researchers discovered that another gene, IGFBP2, actively moves the EGFR target to the nucleus where the drugs cannot reach it, effectively acting as an escape route. Armed with this new knowledge, researchers may now move to develop strategies to target EGFR and IGFBP2 together, potentially overcoming drug resistance for brain cancer patients.

Dr. Paul Schimmel and colleagues at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego have discovered that resveratrol – a natural compound found in grape skins and cocoa – achieves its anti-cancer effects by activating a critical cellular enzyme to carry out a previously-unknown secondary function in preventing DNA damage. This exciting new finding opens the door not just for improved cancer prevention, but for new treatments based on the same mechanism.

Dr. Alice Shaw and colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston have developed a new platform that can rapidly identify effective drug combinations for lung cancer patients whose tumors have stopped responding to targeted therapy. In this research, cells taken directly from the patients’ cancer were grown in the laboratory and treated with many different drug combinations, and identified several effective drug combinations that would not have been predicted to work using standard testing.