Campaign for Cancer Prevention: The Cause to Find the Cancer Causes
Posted Dec 06, 2010 by Jen Burton
Direct Funding for Cancer Research from Crowd-Sourcing Millions on Causes
Our Campaign for Cancer Prevention (CCP) is one such avenue – and it involves transferring the momentum of human social energy to the direct initiation of cancer projects that can truly shift our approach. Thus, the CCP is pleased to announce it has successfully funded the first-ever medical research study from entirely small dollar social-network-driven donations channeled directly to major scientific projects.
This first CCP funded study, titled “Circulating Carotenoids, Mammographic Density, and Subsequent Risk of Breast Cancer,” was groundbreaking and important for breast cancer prevention, especially in light of the recent mammogram screening controversy. The study was featured as the lead article of the respected journal Cancer Research.# First-authored by Rulla Tamini and conducted at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital as part of the famed Nurses’ Health Study, the study found that higher levels of carotenoids in women’s blood predicted lower future risk of breast cancer —with notably stronger protective benefits among women with higher breast density on mammograms. This important finding shows the potential benefits that can come from routine mammogram screenings, and the potential cancer prediction and cancer prevention benefits of studying circulating markers in our blood.
Aside from the significance of the research, this novel method of direct-to-science scientific research funding is also revolutionary and transforming—as we’ve bypassed traditional avenues and founded an entirely new avenue to support cancer research through social media and channeling of grassroots momentum.
For perspective, most research studies conducted at hospitals and scientific institutes around the country are funded by large cancer nonprofit organizations that often have 25-50% overhead costs and up to 2-5 years of bureaucratic delays in administration. Instead, CCP used the power of social media, and community organizing – and cut down innovation delivery time down to less than 9 months. We believe 6 months or even less should be possible in the future.
The cause may have started in a Harvard dorm room and a basement computer lab, but we all know some of the best ventures of our generation with similarly humble beginnings. With the help of Causes and a close team2, we have spent the last three years building the membership to nearly six million members. We wanted to provide an opportunity to directly connect average citizens who care about preventing cancer with leading scientists doing cutting-edge research – transferring energy from simply doing cancer walks with nebulous donation endpoints, to an awaiting set of live cancer projects ready to be launched by social media donations and activism. In over three years, cause members have donated more than $275,000 in grassroots donations for this study and other innovative cancer research at Harvard. Moreover, its not just any laboratory of small-clinic research, but direct cancer prevention research in arguably the most acclaimed and internationally recognized study in the world, the Nurses’ Health Study at Harvard.
Having survived a large tumor as a child and been frustrated by the slow pace of cancer research, I wanted to help pave new avenues to efficiently channel direct activism for cancer, and leverage the social momentum energy to spur even further key innovations for prevention. Ultimately, our first Campaign for Cancer Prevention success story, representing a unique synergy between social media, direct science, and cancer prevention research, will only be the beginning of what is to come. It will be the cause to discover the causes.
#A journal published by the American Association for Cancer Research (http://www.aacr.org/).