To focus our efforts and increase our impact, we have designed two umbrella focus areas under the themes Improved Patient Outcomes and Science of Early Detection and Intervention.
We are one of many players in this area and share objectives with a broad range of other organizations worldwide.
Co-funding and innovative funding models can be further explored and will be more attainable due to a better definition of our main funding interest. A multi-stakeholder partnership can result in a greater impact and contribute to our positioning as thought leaders. Partners can engage with RTFCCR around information sharing and networking with scientists and other institutions interested or experienced in the focus areas and topics we select. The network will also expand our capacity, leading to improved reviews and better grants.
Over the years, the Weizmann Institute and Rising Tide Foundation have developed a highly successful partnership supporting a spectrum of translational cancer researchers who are making major contributions to the understanding of cancer and offering new avenues for potential treatment.
Our first collaboration spanned between 2014 and 2019. It seeded close to 20 highly promising cancer research projects at the Weizmann Institute, four start-up packages for young Weizmann cancer researchers, and multiple scholarships and fellowships for Weizmann students and postdoctoral fellows. The projects were selected through a rigorous and highly competitive call-for-proposal process at the Weizmann Institute.
The result was the start of a personalized cancer research program. The funds enabled Weizmann scientists to advance their research and ultimately garner major grants from national and international granting agencies like the European Research Council, the Israel Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health.
Through this new Cancer Research Program, the Weizmann Institute will solicit applications from its investigators who are conducting translational cancer research that is close to clinical application, with an emphasis on therapy optimization, cancer prevention, and cancer detection. Our focus lies on clinical trials that demonstrate a truly patient-centered approach in terms of potential benefits to patients enrolled in the study and seeking patient reported outcomes to measure quality-of-life issues.
Preference is given to international collaborative projects and/or projects that use methods to accelerate the pace of the study (i.e., use effective, novel clinical trial designs, such as biomarker-driven patient selection, pharmaco-dynamic endpoint assessment, etc.). These three areas— therapy optimization, cancer prevention, and cancer detection — are well-established areas of emphasis among Weizmann Institute scientists, including many previous recipients of Rising Tide Foundation funding.
This program is honored by two brilliant scientists as head of the steering committee: Prof. Varda Rotter and Prof. Patricia LoRusso. Under their guidance and the diligent work of our renowned grant reviewers we have selected four promising studies to launch the 2022 funding cycle:
Prof. Eran Elinav, in collaboration with Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel and Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem
Dr. Ziv Shulman, in collaboration with Rabin Medical Center
Itay Tirosh, in collaboration with Washington, University School of Medicine
This unique opportunity for substantial funding is given to scientists that share our sense of urgency and understand that cancer patients need new treatment options now. This four year program will provide a set of 5 to 20 annual, competitively awarded grants. RTF will provide 50% of the funding matched by other philanthropists. This way the program will be based on a successful partnership and open up for additional partners doubling the size of the program.
Our colleagues from Weizmann are currently working on a nice brochure to share results from our past grants and motivate other philanthropists to join this exciting program. We are looking forward to sharing more success stories about this collaboration in the near future.