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SU2C Summit 2015: Scientists Share and Celebrate Progress

Posted on February 12, 2015, 5:29 AM

To be at the Stand Up To Cancer Scientific Summit is to be, without question, in the presence of greatness.  Once a year, scientists from around the globe whose work has been supported by SU2C are invited to come together and share their research and results. It is a time to celebrate the work, the progress, and the great men and women who dedicate their lives to the fight against cancer.  But it’s not all PowerPoints and laser pointers!  Let’s take a look inside at the nuts and bolts of what happens during SU2C Scientific Summit week.

Scientific Summit 2015


Collaboration is a cornerstone of the SU2C research model.  At the summit, amazing scientific collaborations are both recounted and spawned.  By design, the Stand Up To Cancer model brings together scientists from different institutions and different disciplines, whether as a Dream Team or as a smaller Translational Research Team. SU2C also supports individual, early-career scientists through its Innovative Research Grants, but even IRG recipients are part of the larger SU2C ‘family,’ as it were, and often end up collaborating with members of Dream Teams or other SU2C research teams.

At the summit, collaboration happens everywhere—from the dining room to the hallways, scientists enthusiastically capitalize on being in the same place at the same time to spark spirited conversations with colleagues.  In fact, even scientists whose grants have been completed regularly come back year after year to be a part of this unique gathering of the greatest minds in cancer research.

Scientific Summit 2015
Scientific Summit 2015
Scientific Summit 2015

While organic collaborations are a natural side effect of the SU2C summit, why leave it up to chance?  The Phillip A. Sharp Innovation in Collaboration Awards, given out every year at the summit, match members of different research teams or Innovative Research Grantees together, specifically in pairs who have not collaborated before.  Not only do the Sharp awards circumvent what is typically an elaborate application process, but applicants are required to make preliminary proposals of 250 words or less!  Proposals were submitted on Wednesday and four winning pairs were selected by lunchtime on Thursday.  All in the spirit of SU2C’s mission to accelerate progress and bring new treatments to patients faster.

Progress Reports

During the Open Sessions, each SU2C Dream Team and Translational Research Team presents updates on their accomplishments since the last summit in 2014.  As a scientific lay person, there is an automatic sense of awe just from being in proximity to a (very large) room filled with Ph.D.s, M.D.s and Nobel Prize-winning scientists.  But beyond that, the scientists’ presentations were wondrously humbling.  While non-scientists can understand only a small percentage of what is presented, the extraordinary innovation of what is discussed is hard to overlook. Some recurring topics within the talks included the state of personalized medicine, how to approach tumor heterogeneity, and how to use big data to better catalogue and target tumors.  Register at for updates and alerts on the progress of SU2C’s science as they are available to the public.

Scientific Summit 2015

Hollywood Stands Up

The summit is a place to report and collaborate, but it’s also a time to honor the great men and women who come together to make Stand Up To Cancer’s innovative research model into a reality.  At Hollywood Stands Up, celebrities, scientists and donors celebrate each other as central components of the machine that makes SU2C tick.

Hollywood Stands Up

Robert Downey Jr., one of the many celebrities who spoke, brought levity to the evening with his comparisons between scientists and actors.  “The committee insisted that this Dr. Sharp fellow helped change the way we understand the structure of genes and he oversees the work of over 800 researchers in 150 institutions around the world— I have a five syllable retort, doctor:  I AM IRON MAN.”

Robert Downey Jr.

The event’s chairman, Jim Toth, helped anchor the evening, during which more than $16 million was pledged to fund Stand Up To Cancer’s innovative research programs, including The Jim Toth Sr. Breakthrough Lung Cancer Research Award established last year.  More about Hollywood Stands Up

Jim Toth

SU2C Scientists Kiss Cancer Goodbye

As if all of that amazing news and progress wasn’t enough, the entire SU2C community rallied together to Kiss Cancer Goodbye, continuing the week’s pervasive feeling that hope, and better treatments, are on the horizon. 

Please enjoy these photos of our scientists from the Hollywood Stands Up #KissCancerGoodbye photo booth!

Kiss Cancer Goodbye
Cornelia L. Trimble (HPV Translational Team investigator) and Phillip D. Greenberg (Ad hoc Reviewer for the SU2C-Lustgarten Pancreatic Immunotherapy Dream Team)

Kiss Cancer Goodbye
Estela Jacinto (IRG 2011); Ruth Fax (PI3K Dream Team Advocate); Laura K. Shawver (SAC member)

Kiss Cancer Goodbye
SU2C-CRI Immunology Dream Team (L to R): James P. Allison; Padmanee Sharma; Dana Pe’er (IRG 2011); Drew M. Pardoll; Cassian Yee

Kiss Cancer Goodbye
David A. Tuveson (SAC member) and Phillip A. Sharp (SAC Chair)

Kiss Cancer Goodbye
Kimberly Stegmaier (IRG 2009); Adolpho A. Ferrando (IRG 2011)

Kiss Cancer Goodbye
Jeffrey A. Sosman (SU2C-MRA Melanoma Dream Team) with daughter Naomi Sosman, and wife Dana Ziebel

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