News

New Milestone in Cancer Research Achieved with V Foundation Awards Topping $80 Million

Donations Lead to Measurable Success: V Vaccine for Cancer Goes into Trials, America’s Greatest Research Medical Talent is Recognized, and Encouraged

The V Foundation for Cancer Research, one of the nation’s leading cancer research fundraising organizations, announced today it has awarded $80 million to date, towards grants awarded to cancer research. This total includes more than 400 grants nationwide to 92 different institutions. Grants have also been awarded to elite scientists and researchers, called V Scholars, around the country working on cures for leukemia/lymphoma, pediatric cancer, lung cancer, and breast cancer as well as numerous other cancer types.

“We are extremely proud of awarding $80 million to cancer research,” said Nick Valvano, CEO of The V Foundation.  “We are now fully endowed, which means 100% of every dollar donated goes to original and developmental cancer research. Our review board of over 60 leading physicians and scientists review every application, to determine where and how to most effectively find a cure for the entire category of cancers, which took my brother, Jimmy Valvano, and millions of other Americans. This is our mission and purpose, to support researchers as they strive to find cures for cancer.”

“With ESPN’s dedication and commitment to our cause, a staff smaller than 10 people, and thousands of individual and corporate supporters, we have been uniquely able to make a significant difference in the fight against cancer,” he added.

Among the notable achievements uniquely encouraged by V Foundation, is a new vaccine, called the V Vaccine which is now going into trials.

James Mulé, Ph.D. received a $1 million designated grant in 2007.  Dr. Mulé is Executive Vice President for Translational Research and the Michael McGillicuddy Endowed Chair for Melanoma at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL. He has published nearly 200 articles on vaccines and other approaches to stimulate the immune system to fight cancer.

Dr. Mulé’s development of a “V” Vaccine is particularly interesting.  “We are no longer restrained by what Mother Nature has given us” said Dr. Mulé. “The generous funding of The V Foundation allowed us to develop and launch the very first therapeutic vaccine of its kind in melanoma patients that creates new, functioning lymph nodes in the body. We believe the “V” vaccine will set the stage for creating ‘designer’ lymph nodes to effectively boost immunity to a variety of cancer types.”

The very first V Scholar award was in 1994 to Gerold Bepler, M.D., Ph.D.   Today, Dr. Bepler is an international leader in lung cancer research and has received more than $24 million in funding for his work.  The grant funded his early research that led to a key discovery into molecular changes that affected lung cancer’s progression.  Dr. Bepler is the president and chief executive officer of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit.

”The funding I received from the V Foundation was an important catalyst to my research in lung cancer.  I’m very grateful for their support of my research,” said Dr. Bepler.

The V Foundation awards 100 percent of all direct donations and net proceeds of events directly to cancer research and related programs. Administrative and fundraising expenses are paid by their endowment.  Grants are given to fund all types of cancer through a competitive process strictly supervised by a Scientific Advisory Board comprised of some of the nation’s top physicians and scientists.

“The V Foundation has invested strategically in the careers of the best and brightest young cancer researchers and in supporting the movement of the most promising ideas from the laboratory to the clinic to help patients fight cancer. The $80 million has been used wisely and it has made a huge difference,” said Robert C. Bast, Jr., M.D., Vice President for Translational Research at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and a member of The V Foundation Scientific Advisory Board.

For more information on The V Foundation, please log onto www.jimmyv.org or call 1-800-4JimmyV. You can also visit Twitter.com/TheVFoundation or Facebook.com/TheVFoundation to learn more.

About The V Foundation for Cancer Research

The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State basketball coach and ESPN commentator. Since 1993, The Foundation has raised more than $100 million to fund cancer research grants nationwide. It awards 100 percent of all direct cash donations and net proceeds of events directly to cancer research and related programs. Administrative and fundraising expenses are paid by their endowment. The Foundation awards grants through a competitive awards process strictly supervised by a Scientific Advisory Board. For more information on The V Foundation or to make a donation, please visit www.jimmyv.org.