The Foundation for Cancer Research Support (RakFond)

About the Foundation

The Foundation for Cancer Research Support (RakFond) is a non-profit organization with the main objectives of:
  • funding R&D activities and the development of new methods and tools for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer;
  • promoting the advancement of research activities of scientific institutions, centers, oncological hospitals, and individual specialists in the field of oncology.

The Foundation was founded in 2017 and operates in the Russian Federation.

Support our Work! RakFond’s Strategy

 

News

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is partnering with RakFond on the “Clinical Trial Workshop for Young Investigators,” which ...
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This year, our long-term partner and donor, the Russian Society of Clinical Oncology (RUSSCO), is celebrating a double anniversary – ...
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The review of the applications for the Competition of research projects in oncology (RFP 2021-01) has been completed. Overall, 17 ...
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Joint Session of RUSSCO and RakFond with Consilium Scientific PRESENT AND FUTURE OF ONCOLOGY Chairs: Dr. Nikolay Zhukov, D. Rogachev ...
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отчет AACR РакФонд
DISCOVERY SCIENCE DRIVING CLINICAL BREAKTHROUGHS The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) released its annual Cancer Progress Report, which highlights ...
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David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2021. Their discoveries were focused ...
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This year's meeting of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) took place online on September 16-21. In frames of ...
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ASCO’s Clinical Cancer Advances annual report highlights current trends in the field and identifies cancer research priorities that have great ...
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The results of the subgroup analysis of the CHRONOS19 registry in patients with acute leukemia and COVID-19 will be presented ...
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Loss of heterozygosity in the short tandem repeat (STR) loci found in tumor DNA of ALL patients as a factor ...
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Articles and Reviews

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Interviews with Experts

RakFond’s experts talk in their short interviews about their choice to become an oncologist, which cancer research they could name as their favorite, and why cancer research support is important.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is partnering with RakFond on the “Clinical Trial Workshop for Young Investigators,” which will be held on February 2-4, 2022, in Moscow, Russia. ASCO will assist in the program development and provide faculty for the joint session. The event also has been included in the ASCO event calendar. The call for proposals is now open to young investigators who would like to participate in the workshop. More details, terms, and application forms are available at the event web page: https://www.rakfond.org/школа/.

We look forward to receiving exciting proposals and having a productive workshop that will advance clinical cancer research in Russia.

This year, our long-term partner and donor, the Russian Society of Clinical Oncology (RUSSCO), is celebrating a double anniversary – 10 years of the society and 25 years of the Oncology Congress and RosOncoWeb. It is a great honor for us to work together on projects in advancing cancer research, and on behalf of the RakFond team, we congratulate our colleagues, send our gratitude for supporting our initiatives, and wish them many years of prosperity and success!
 
At the XXV Russian Oncology Congress, RakFond and RUSSCO held a joint session supported by Consilium Scientific. The experts discussed the forecast of cancer morbidity and mortality in 2035, current trends, limitations, and ways to advance cancer research. The video presentations will be available on rosoncoweb.ru and the resources of RakFond.
 
Consilium Scientific is a non-profit research organization that drives health policy change in the UK and around the world. Follow their new scientific seminars in oncology on our website and social media.

The review of the applications for the Competition of research projects in oncology (RFP 2021-01) has been completed. Overall, 17 full applications were received, 14 of them passed the formal compliance check and were sent for a scientific review.

The maximum weighted score in this competition was 33. The rating of the applications based on the results of the scientific review is presented below. Detailed information on the winner and the project is posted on our website in the Supported Research section.

2021-01-08 30.56
2021-01-14 28.00
2021-01-03 26.00
2021-01-06 25.33
2021-01-01 24.33
2021-01-05 21.58
2021-01-07 20.00
2021-01-15 19.50
2021-01-10 19.17
2021-01-11 17.67
2021-01-04 17.00
2021-01-09 16.83
2021-01-17 15.17
2021-01-12 13.00

In order to protect the personal data of the participants, as well as the confidentiality of the proposals, personal data and other confidential information related to the competition are excluded from open access. 

We will be happy to provide more detailed information on the competition, as well as on the procedure for carrying out project evaluations to all interested parties. Please send us a request to the following email: grant@rakfond.org

Joint Session of RUSSCO and RakFond with Consilium Scientific

PRESENT AND FUTURE OF ONCOLOGY

Chairs:

  • Dr. Nikolay Zhukov, D. Rogachev National Medical Research Center for Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Immunology, Moscow>
  • Prof. Tatiana Semiglazova, N.N. Petrov National Medical Research Center for Oncology, Saint Petersburg

 

08:50-09:00 – Introduction

Dr. Nikolay Zhukov, D. Rogachev National Medical Research Center for Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Immunology, Moscow

09:00-09:10 – Introduction

Prof. Tatiana Semiglazova, N.N. Petrov National Medical Research Center for Oncology, Saint Petersburg

09:10-09:30 – Cancer morbidity and mortality in Russia in 2035

Dr. Ilya Tsimafeyeu, Kidney Cancer Research Bureau, Moscow

09:30-09:35 – Questions

09:35-09:55 – The limits of personalized cancer medicine

Prof. John Hickman, The University of Manchester, UK

09:55-10:00 – Questions

10:00-10:20 – Drug Repurposing in Oncology – From Candidate Selection to Clinical Investigation

Dr. Pan Pantziarka, Anticancer Fund, Belgium

10:20-10:25 – Questions

10:25-10:45 – Novel clinical trial designs

Dr. Mikhail Fedyanin, N.N. Blokhin National Medical Research Center for Oncology, Moscow

10:45-10:50 – Questions

10:50-11:05 – New approaches in drug approval regulations

Dr. Dmitry Ovchinnikov, Moscow

11:05-11:10 – Questions

11:10-11:25 – New models of funding cancer research and development

Dr. Kristina Zakurdaeva, RakFond, Moscow

11:25-11:30 – Questions

 

Registration and program of the congress: https://rosoncoweb.ru /.

отчет AACR РакФонд

DISCOVERY SCIENCE DRIVING CLINICAL BREAKTHROUGHS

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) released its annual Cancer Progress Report, which highlights advances over the past 12 months in the prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. Below is a brief summary of this report.

CANCER IN 2021

  • • According to the latest estimates from World Health Organization (WHO), cancer was the first or second leading cause of death before the age of 70 in 112 out of 183 countries in 2019 and accounted for nearly 10 million deaths worldwide in 2020.
    • The age-adjusted overall U.S. cancer death rate declined by 31% from 1991 to 2018, a reduction that translates into 3.2 million cancer deaths avoided. This reduction is driven in large part by the rapid declines in the death rates from aggressive tumors, such as lung cancer and melanoma, over the last decade.
    • Implementation of nationwide public education campaigns, as well as comprehensive tobacco control policies, has resulted in a significant decrease in the U.S. smoking rates from 37.4% in 1971 to 14% in 2019. During 2011–2017, nearly 10% more Americans were surviving five years or longer after lung cancer diagnosis compared to 1975–1977.
    • The sharp decline in lung cancer deaths in the last two decades also parallels the unprecedented pace of discoveries in basic and translational research leading to clinical breakthroughs against lung cancer: in 2010, there were only 3 FDA-approved molecularly targeted therapeutics; as of July 31, 2021, 30 agents – molecularly targeted therapeutics and immune checkpoint inhibitors – have been approved by FDA to treat various subtypes of lung cancer.
    • Rapid advances in the field of molecularly targeted therapeutics and immunotherapeutics have improved the outcomes for patients with several cancer types beyond lung cancer.
    • The U.S. 5-year relative survival rate for all cancers combined has increased from 49% for people diagnosed in the mid-1970s to 70% for those diagnosed from 2013 to 2017.
    • This trend is also seen among U.S. children and adolescents (ages 0 to 19), for whom the 5-year relative survival rose from 63% to 84% over the same time interval.
    • However, there are still no effective treatments for many of the over 200 known types of cancer which desperately require further research and development.
    • For those diagnosed between 2011 and 2017, there are striking differences between 5-year relative survival rates for breast (female) cancer (90%) and melanoma (93%) compared to pancreatic (11%) and liver (20%) cancers.
    • Cancer patients in the United States paid $5.6 billion out of pocket for cancer treatments in 2018, which is nearly the same as the total $6 billion NCI funding for cancer research that year. Furthermore, an estimated $200.7 billion of total U.S. health care was spent on cancer-related health care in 2020.
    • While the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has adversely affected all aspects of cancer research and care, scientists have responded in new and innovative ways to address the unique challenges posed by the pandemic.
    • There are serious concerns about the higher burden of COVID-19 for patients with cancer. Multiple studies indicate that cancer patients are at a greater risk of COVID-19 infection and mortality. This risk is the highest for patients with lung cancer and hematological malignancies and among patients from certain underserved population groups.

UNDERSTANDING HOW CANCER DEVELOPS

  • • Research provides our understanding of the biology of cancer, which is not one disease, but a collection of diseases characterized by the uncontrolled growth of cells.
    • Genetic mutations underpin cancer initiation and development in most cases; in about 10% of patients, tumor cells contain inherited mutations.
    • Cancer initiation and progression are strongly influenced by interactions among cancer cells and cellular and molecular factors in their environment, referred to as the tumor microenvironment.
    • Each person’s cancer is unique and so is the response to treatments; understanding why certain patients respond exceptionally well to treatments that are not effective for others is an elusive question in cancer medicine and an area of extensive ongoing investigation.
    • The more we know about the contributions of the numerous individual genetic and other factors and their interplay in influencing cancer development among all populations, the more precisely and effectively we can prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer.

PREVENTING CANCER: IDENTIFYING RISK FACTORS

  • • In the US, 4 out of 10 cancer cases are associated with preventable risk factors.
    • Not using tobacco is one of the most effective ways a person can prevent cancer.
    • Nearly 20% of U.S. cancer diagnoses are related to excess body weight, alcohol intake, poor diet, and physical inactivity.
    • Many cases of skin cancer could be prevented by protecting the skin from ultraviolet radiation from the sun and indoor tanning devices.
    • Nearly all cases of cervical cancer, as well as many cases of head and neck and anal cancers, could be prevented by HPV vaccination, but more than 41% of U.S. adolescents have not yet received the recommended doses of the vaccine.
    • The mechanisms by which certain risk factors such as obesity, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity increase cancer incidence are currently under investigation.

SCREENING FOR EARLY DETECTION

  • • Breakthroughs in understanding how cancer develops and progresses are facilitating the development of cancer screening tests that can detect cancer at its earliest stage before it has spread to other sites.
    • Technological advances, such as state-of-the-art DNA sequencing methods, minimally invasive biopsies, artificial intelligence, and cutting-edge imaging are poised to transform early detection in the coming years.

DISCOVERY SCIENCE DRIVING CLINICAL BREAKTHROUGHS

  • • Genetic and epigenetic characteristics of cancer cells, unveiled by discovery science, are being leveraged to develop novel and innovative treatments for cancer that are saving and improving lives.
    • From August 1, 2020 to July 31, 2021, FDA has approved 16 new anticancer therapeutics that include a revolutionary therapeutic against an altered form of the long intractable protein, KRAS, for certain patients with lung cancer, and the first adoptive cell therapy to treat patients with multiple myeloma.
    • During the same period, FDA has expanded the use of 11 previously approved anticancer therapeutics to treat additional cancer types, bringing the promise of research-driven clinical breakthroughs to more patients.

SUPPORTING CANCER PATIENTS AND SURVIVORS

  • • As of 2019, more than 5% of the U.S. population is living with a history of cancer.
    • Each person diagnosed with cancer faces a unique set of challenges; 25% of cancer survivors report poor physical health and 10% report poor mental health, both adversely affecting quality of life.
    • Researchers are exploring ways to utilize healthy behaviors, palliative care, psycho-oncology, and other evidence-based strategies to improve survival and quality of life for patients with cancer.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

  • • The next generation of technologies will accelerate the pace of understanding of cancer biology while transforming the future of clinical practice.
    • Combining genomic and proteomic approaches in cancer research will revolutionize treatment by expanding precise use of existing therapeutics and addressing some of the most elusive questions in cancer such as treatment resistance.
    • Artificial intelligence holds enormous promise in cancer science and medicine and may transform the future of cancer detection, diagnosis, treatment, and drug discovery.
    • The new wave of innovation in science and technology is providing necessary tools to effectively target cancer-driving molecules that have long been “undruggable.”
    • Implementation science aims to integrate proven, effective interventions into routine health care in order to bridge the gap between evidence and clinical practice.

In conclusion, the extraordinary advances against cancer detailed in this report were made possible by the dedicated efforts of a broad coalition of researchers, clinicians, cancer survivors, patient advocates, and policy makers.

Decades of investment in medical research have fueled new discoveries, making it possible to prevent, detect, diagnose, treat, and cure many types of cancer that previously lacked effective treatment options. Despite this progress, much more work needs to be done on behalf of those living with cancer and those who will be diagnosed in the future. Continued investments are required to bring lifesaving cures to the millions of people worldwide whose lives are touched by cancer.

Source: cancerprogressreport.org. Philadelphia: American Association for Cancer Research; 2021 [cited October 14, 2021]. 

David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2021. Their discoveries were focused on TRP-ion channels, the receptors responsible for heat and cold, and PIEZO-ion channels, the receptors for touch, which are also involved in sensing body position. The signal activation of ion channels that will subsequently be perceived by the brain makes these receptors vital for our survival.

The study of ion channels, “sensors” of physiological state, helps to better understand the mechanisms responsible for pain, the transmission of pain impulses. Research by Dr. Julius and Dr. Patapoutian deepens our basic knowledge in this area, and can also be used in the development of methods for the treatment of various diseases, including chronic pain syndrome, which is often found in cancer patients.

More effective relief of chronic or neuropathic pain will significantly increase patients’ quality of life, therefore, such discoveries help to advance the day when cancer is defeated.

This year’s meeting of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) took place online on September 16-21. In frames of the scientific program, a poster on the treatment outcomes and antibody immunity to SARS-CoV-2 in patients with hematological malignancies was presented by CHRONOS19 investigators.

A full abstract can be found here: https://oncologypro.esmo.org/meeting-resources/esmo-congress-2021/treatment-outcomes-and-antibody-immunity-to-sars-cov-2-in-patients-with-hematological-malignancies

ASCO’s Clinical Cancer Advances annual report highlights current trends in the field and identifies cancer research priorities that have great potential to advance progress against cancer. The 16th edition of the annual report was developed by a 26-member editorial board of experts. The editors reviewed scientific literature published in peer-reviewed journals or presented at major medical conferences, primarily from October 2019 to September 2020, selected advances that improve meaningful patient outcomes and have a strong scientific impact, and proposed priority areas of research that address vital unmet needs in cancer care and have the potential to improve the knowledge base for clinical decision making. This year’s report also discusses the critical issue of health equity in cancer research and solutions to ensure that every patient with cancer, everywhere, can access the latest advances.

The molecular profiling that drives progress in gastrointestinal (GI) cancers was selected as the Advance of the Year. Molecular profiling has helped change the outlook for patients with GI cancer by identifying the molecular and genetic signatures that allow oncologists to deliver treatments that are highly specific to a tumor.  

The ability to molecularly profile a GI tumor has expanded the treatment options for individual patients with GI cancers – extending survival, while minimizing adverse effects. Specific genetic mutations, amplifications or fusions, epigenetic profile, protein expression, or other molecular features allow oncologists to choose targeted therapies matched to the molecular profile of their patients’ tumor.

In the past year, research has shown that targeting human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) improves survival in gastric cancer and shows promise for patients with HER2-positive colorectal cancer.

Therapy is now approved by FDA that targets specific DNA mutations in metastatic colorectal cancer. The first-line treatment with pembrolizumab (PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor) doubles time to disease progression in patients with advanced colorectal cancer with DNA mismatch repair deficiency.

These advances are moving the treatment of GI cancers closer to personalized medicine.

 

Additional Major Advances

Advances featured in this year’s report reflect progress in a range of cancers and across prevention and treatment, including:

  • Progress in bringing targeted therapies to patients with earlier-stage disease.
  • Biomarker-driven treatment approaches that offer more personalized care for lung, colorectal, and gastric cancers.
  • Combinations of different therapies that extend survival without increasing toxicity.
  • A growing number of targeted therapies are offering extended survival for more patients with difficult-to-treat cancers.

Prevention

Accumulated data from observational studies and registries suggest a protective benefit associated with aspirin in patients with Lynch syndrome (hereditary cancer predisposition). Twenty-year follow-up, which included 427 individuals randomly assigned to receive daily aspirin or placebo for 2 years, showed a significant, meaningful decrease of 44% in colorectal cancers among Lynch syndrome carriers who took aspirin compared with those who took a placebo. This benefit took more than 5 years to become detectable but persisted beyond 20 years. Serious adverse events were comparable for the two groups. The optimal dosage and treatment duration remain to be determined.

ASCO Research Priorities to Accelerate Progress Against Cancer

Research priorities for 2021 represent promising areas of research that have the potential to significantly improve the knowledge base for clinical decision making and address vital unmet needs in cancer care. This year’s list includes a newly added priority on artificial intelligence, recognizing its growing potential to solve complex problems and drive diagnostic, therapeutic, and translational research across the spectrum of cancer prevention and care.

Develop and Integrate Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Deep Learning in Cancer Research

Primary focus areas include:

  • Develop deep learning methodologies that aid in cancer diagnosis based on biospecimen analysis, including the detection of molecular variants that may affect prognosis or treatment decisions.
  • Investigate the utility of AI to enhance and improve radiographic imaging, analysis, and reporting.
  • Implement and assess AI systems that integrate large amounts of clinical data to aid clinical decision making and measurement of clinical outcomes.

Identify Strategies That Predict Response and Resistance to Immunotherapies

Priority focus areas include:

  • Identify blood- and tissue-based biomarkers relevant to immunotherapies that can predict initial response, long-term disease control, adverse events, and resistance.
  • Develop predictive models and algorithms that assign risk of severe immune-related toxicities based on readily available patient data.

Optimize Multimodality Treatment for Solid Tumors

Priority focus areas include:

  • Develop analytically and clinically valid biomarker tests with proven clinical utility to identify recurrence risk after treatment of the primary tumor and determine the best options for patients with different degrees of risk.
  • Define the patient populations that benefit from perioperative, neoadjuvant, and adjuvant therapies, including clinical, pathologic, genomic, biochemical, immunologic, and environmental or social factors that affect the likelihood of benefit.
  • Study treatment de-escalation strategies that maximize benefit while reducing risk.

Increase Precision Medicine Research and Treatment Approaches in Pediatric and Other Rare Cancers

Priority focus areas include:

  • Identify genomic and other molecular alterations in pediatric and rare cancers that can serve as potentially actionable treatment targets.
  • Develop effective therapeutic agents that can target genomic or other molecular alterations in childhood and rare cancers.
  • Explore the efficacy of existing targeted therapies in pediatric patients and patients with rare cancers that have mutations shown to be responsive to medicines that work in adult populations.

Optimize Care for Older Adults With Cancer

Priority focus areas include:

  • Develop standardized methods to characterize physiologic aging, such as geriatric assessment, biomarkers of aging, and clinical pharmacology in older adults, to more reliably predict risk of treatment-related adverse effects in older patients with cancer.
  • Use practice-based data to better understand the efficacy and toxicities of cancer treatments, including the impact on physical function, cognition, and quality of life, particularly among older adults most underrepresented in clinical trials, such as those with impaired functional status, comorbidities, or frailty.
  • Test the role of geriatric assessment-guided management in improving outcomes using personalized care; important focus areas include strategies that minimize undertreatment of fit patients and overtreatment of vulnerable or frail patients, supportive care interventions, and care delivery interventions.

Increase Equitable Access to Cancer Clinical Trials

Priority focus areas include:

  • Improve understanding of the barriers to trial enrollment among various under-represented groups, taking into consideration patient, practice, community, and trial-specific factors.
  • Develop and test interventions that enhance clinical trial enrollment among under-represented population (examples may include use of educational tools, telehealth, and community-based involvement and participatory research).
  • Evaluate novel strategies to improve access to clinical research resources in areas with large proportions of under-represented minorities.
  • Develop mechanisms that improve awareness and education about clinical trials among underrepresented groups and the physicians treating them.
  • Make use of clinical practice data to study differences in cancer incidence, prevalence, natural history of disease, and treatment experience, including efficacy and toxicity, among underrepresented populations.

Reduce Adverse Consequences of Cancer Treatment

Priority focus areas include:

  • Develop and test strategies to mitigate and manage chronic toxicities associated with cancer treatment, including optimization of drug and radiation dosing.
  • Identify genetic variants associated with increased risk of treatment-related toxicities.
  • Deepen understanding of the underlying mechanisms of toxicities from targeted treatments, determine their contribution to long-term effects, and develop novel strategies to mitigate or eliminate such toxicities.
  • Expand understanding and use of the range of pain management options for patients with cancer.
  • Develop new tools to facilitate long-term tracking of patient outcomes that include patient-reported measures.

Reduce Obesity’s Impact on Cancer Incidence and Outcomes

Priority focus areas include:

  • Improve the understanding of the mechanisms by which weight and energy balance, including physical activity and dietary factors, contribute to cancer development and progression.
  • Investigate how obesity affects response to therapy, risk of cancer recurrence, and long-term cancer outcomes.
  • Assess the impact of energy balance interventions, such as weight loss, increased physical activity, and improved dietary quality, on cancer risk, recurrence, and mortality.
  • Identify effective interventions that optimize energy balance in people at risk and who are living with cancer.

Better Identify Potentially Malignant Lesions and Predict When Treatment is Needed

Priority focus areas include:

  • Address barriers to screening and early treatment of potentially malignant disease.
  • Identify potentially malignant lesions with a high risk for progression based on specific features and develop appropriate treatment strategies, while also identifying potentially malignant lesions that do not require intervention.
  • Identify specific molecular pathways that drive progression of preinvasive lesions to invasive cancer and develop interventions that can delay or prevent progression to malignancy.
  • Identify features of the microenvironment of potentially malignant lesions that are associated with progression to invasive disease.
  • Investigate novel methods for evaluation of potentially malignant lesions to better inform the risk or likelihood of progression to invasive disease.

 

Source: https://www.asco.org/research-guidelines/reports-studies/clinical-cancer-advances-2021

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