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AACR Mourns the Loss of Laura Ziskin, Co-founder of SU2C

June 12, 2011
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PHILADELPHIA — It is with immense sorrow and deep regret that we share the news of the passing of Laura Ziskin, co-founder of Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C). She was a staunch advocate of the value of cancer research in saving lives, and was a beloved friend and member of our AACR family.

“The AACR expresses its deepest sorrow and heartfelt condolences to Laura’s family, friends and to our extended family at SU2C. We have truly lost a brave and visionary leader, and an inspiration to so many,” said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the American Association for Cancer Research. “Laura fought her cancer and also worked with passion and urgency to help others affected by this dreaded disease. Her legacy is evident and tangible in the excellent translational research being conducted, and in new treatments being developed that will help countless people.”

“We are extraordinarily grateful for Laura’s unwavering commitment to a revolutionary approach to funding and conducting cancer research,” said Judy E. Garber, M.D., M.P.H., president of the AACR. “Her impact on our field has already been enormous and will endure as a tribute to her astonishing energy and vision. As the scientific partner of SU2C, we are proud to have had the privilege of working with Laura in her quest to eradicate cancer.”

Ziskin had a trail-blazing career as a producer and studio executive for 35 years, with film credits from movies such as “Pretty Woman,” “What About Bob,” “No Way Out,” “The Doctor,” and the “Spider Man” trilogy. As the founding president of Fox 2000, she spearheaded films such as “The Thin Red Line,” “Fight Club,” “Soul Food” and “Courage Under Fire.” She also produced the 74th and 79th Academy Awards.

After her diagnosis with stage III breast cancer in 2004, Ziskin embraced an additional, unsought role as a cancer activist, joining with other women in the entertainment and media businesses (including Sherry Lansing, Katie Couric, Rusty Robertson, Sue Schwartz, Ellen Ziffren, Pam Williams, Noreen Fraser, and the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Lisa Paulsen and Kathleen Lobb) to co-found SU2C. The group marshals the entertainment industry’s resources to engage the public in supporting a new approach to cancer research that is geared toward getting new therapies to patients quickly.  

Since its launch in May 2008, more than $180 million has been pledged to SU2C from a wide range of philanthropic, corporate and organizational donors, as well as the general public, much of it in connection with two live “roadblock” telecasts — on Sept. 5, 2008 and Sept. 10, 2010. Together, these live telecasts featured nearly 200 celebrities, aired simultaneously on the major networks and a dozen cable stations, and were seen in 175 countries. Donors of every type joined the movement, ranging from individuals all over the country to organizations like Major League Baseball, philanthropists such as Sidney Kimmel, and corporations from an array of industries.

With these critical funds, SU2C has funded five interdisciplinary, multi-institutional Dream Teams and 26 Innovative Research Grants — comprised of 355 scientists and other professionals from 55 institutions. Current research underway has the potential to impact the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of cancers that are responsible for two-thirds of the cancer deaths in the United States.

The family requests that donations be made to Stand Up To Cancer: (via or by mail: Attn: Stand Up To Cancer, c/o The Entertainment Industry Foundation, 1201 West 5th Street, T-700, Los Angeles, CA, 90017.)

Read more about Laura Ziskin from SU2C.
Watch the AACR’s interview with Laura Ziskin.

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The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, the AACR is the world’s oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes 33,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and more than 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants, research fellowships and career development awards. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 18,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. Including Cancer Discovery, the AACR publishes seven major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; and Cancer Prevention Research. AACR journals represented 20 percent of the market share of total citations in 2009. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors and their families, patient advocates, physicians and scientists.

Media Contact:
Michele Sharp
(267) 646-0622

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