The Neuroendocrine Tumor (NET) Research Foundation today announced that it has received a major gift from the Margie and Robert E. Petersen Foundation to launch the most ambitious research effort ever undertaken to control and cure neuroendocrine cancers. Automobile publishing giant Robert E. Petersen passed away from this form of cancer, which is diagnosed in an estimated 12,000 Americans each year. It is the same disease that claimed the life of Apple founder Steve Jobs. The $15 million gift will provide $5 million a year for three years in funds and endowment to support research and investigators dedicated to a cure.
"A gift of this magnitude will greatly intensify the research that can be conducted in this rare disease space. With very little public funding for this type of research, a private gift of this magnitude is nothing short of transformational," said Ron Hollander, NET Research Foundation Executive Director. "We are so grateful to the Margie and Robert E. Petersen Foundation. This is an exciting time for cancer research, as new treatments like Immunotherapy are having breakthrough results for many forms of cancer. We will be reaching out to researchers throughout the US and beyond to bring the best ideas and investigators to the cause of curing neuroendocrine cancers."
Robert E. Petersen started and published magazines such as Motor Trend and Hot Rod Magazine and founded the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. He passed away from neuroendocrine cancer in 2007. As he and his family experienced almost ten years ago, there is still too little known, few effective treatments and no cures available for these rare cancers.
"With this gift to catalyze our efforts, we must now build and sustain this new level of intensity until we see our cause through to completion," said NET Research Foundation Board Chair, Carol Branaman.
NETs are rare and originate from specialized cells called neuroendocrine cells. NETs can occur throughout the body, but primary sites include the gastrointestinal tract, pancreas, rectum, lungs, and appendix. More than 100,000 people in the US are living with neuroendocrine cancers and the number of those diagnosed is increasing by more than five percent annually. Because symptoms often mimic those of other conditions, the majority of NET patients are initially misdiagnosed and the time from onset of symptoms to proper diagnosis often exceeds five years.
To date, there are few clues as to what makes these tumors form, change, and grow. For ten years, the NET Research Foundation has built, connected, and supported a growing community of researchers dedicated to breakthrough scientific research in the quest to cure neuroendocrine cancers. Since its inception, the NET Research Foundation has awarded over $12 million in large-scale, multi-year research grants to leading scientists at renowned research institutions, and 7 of the top 10 US cancer centers. The Margie and Robert E. Petersen Foundation gift will allow the NET Research Foundation to take the next step forward to advance its vital mission.