Cancer Research

RESEARCH UPDATE — MAY 2021

The Farrah Fawcett Foundation is pleased to announce a new research team partnership with Stand Up To Cancer.

The Stand Up To CancerFanconi Anemia Research FundFarrah Fawcett Foundation Head and Neck Cancer Research Team, with support from American Head and Neck Society and Head and Neck Cancer Alliance, will bring new approaches for target identification and translational research. These innovations could lead to better treatment options for patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cancer.

“Our investment in these cancers is important, as HPV-related Head and Neck cancers are on the rise. HPV is responsible for 5% of the worlds cancers.  Since the mechanism for cancer development and treatment translates to all HPV cancers, we feel this team will have great impact on our mission.”

Alana Stewart, FFF President

The research group will focus on HPV-related and Fanconi Anemia (FA)-related cancers. Investigators across several disciplines, including oncology, biology, engineering, chemistry, physics, and other areas, will collaborate, each bringing their expertise to bear against HNSCC, its connection with HPV, and its association with defects in the FA pathway.

This new research team will benefit from SU2C’s structure, support, and oversight, through which a multi-disciplinary team will come together to focus on a discrete set of aims. SU2C’s six-month progress review ensures the team will meet milestones and deliverables while staying focused on pre-established goals. Moreover, the SU2C practice of integrating multidisciplinary experts on research teams, including lay patient advocates and non-clinical research experts, creates a sense of urgency amongst team members and results in more inclusive, patient-centered translational and clinical research.

The Research Team is supported by the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund, the Farrah Fawcett Foundation, the American Head & Neck Society, and Head and Neck Cancer Alliance.


The Farrah Fawcett Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer have collaborated by creating a research team dedicated to HPV-related cancers. To date, the FFF has donated over $1,500,000 with participation from the HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation. The team is now at clinical trial at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. According to the CDC, high-risk human papilloma viruses are responsible for 90% of anal cancers (the cancer that took Farrah’s life) and cervical cancers, as well as many vaginal, vulvar, penile, and oropharyngeal cancers.

The Farrah Fawcett Foundation is committed to helping find a cure. A large part of our focus is to support the most effective and cutting-edge research possible. We are specifically interested in HPV-related cancers.

Some of our grantees include UCLA Medical, MD Anderson, St. Jude’s. Brown and Duke University. We are proud of funding the first ever Farrah Fawcett Symposium on Circulating Tumor Cells and Chemosensitivity Testing. Because Farrah failed conventional chemoradiation within three months of completing therapy, she became an advocate of chemosensitivity testing. She had a strong belief in this type of therapy and because of the difficulty getting a clear consensus on its true utility, this conference presented relevant data to establish a state of knowledge and to encourage improved literature and studies in this area. Doctors from all over the world presented information and shared strategies.  This was one of the first such events of its kind.