The V Foundation Hosts The 2021 Answer For Cancer


Free and Open to the Public

NAPA VALLEY, CA, July 6, 2021 -- Distinguished V Foundation scientific advisors from leading cancer centers will discuss the latest advances in immunotherapy research at the 2021 Answer for Cancer Research Symposium on Saturday, August 7, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Estate Yountville’s event venue, The Social, in Napa Valley, California. The symposium, which offers attendees the opportunity to ask questions directly of the experts, is free and open to the public as part of the 2021 V Foundation Wine Celebration weekend, an annual signature event to raise funds for V Foundation for Cancer Research. Moderated by ESPN SportsCenter anchor, Sage Steele, the Answer for Cancer Research Symposium is sponsored by ESPN and Blackbaud.


Immunotherapy is a cancer treatment that harnesses the power of the immune system to fight cancer. Where other treatments, like chemotherapy, attack the cancer using agents which may have toxicity for normal cells as well, immunotherapy trains the body to either find and attack the cancer or to counteract cancer cells that send signals to disarm immune responses. Immunotherapy treatments can be used in many different types of cancer in children and adults and may be used by themselves or in conjunction with other therapies.


The 2021 Wine Celebration’s Fund-a-Need has a goal of co-funding four Parker Bridge Fellows in partnership with the Parker Institute for Cancer Research (PICI). PICI’s goal is to accelerate the development of breakthrough immunotherapies. Within their Parker Bridge Fellows program, PICI has developed a collaborative framework to provide leading scientists access to their data and infrastructure, broadening the effort to solve cancer problems in the immunotherapy space. 


William Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., director of The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, will kick off the symposium as the head of the V Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee. Nelson will share the awareness gained during the Covid-19 pandemic, examine the importance and necessity of cancer research, and provide an overview of how immunotherapy harnesses the power of the immune system and trains it to recognize cancer cells and eliminates them.


Following Nelson’s keynote, Olivera Finn, Ph.D., professor of Immunology and Surgery and founding hair of the Department of Immunotherapy at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, will share more than three decades of expertise in translational research in immunology and oncology. 


Duane Mitchell, Ph.D., co-director of the Preston A. Wells Jr. Center for Brain Tumor Therapy and director of the University of Florida Brain Tumor Immunotherapy Program, will discuss his clinical and translational research experience having served as principal investigator on seven first-in-human protocols through FDA-approved clinical trials. 


Lisa H. Butterfield, Ph.D., vice president of Research and Development and an adjunct professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of California, San Francisco, will focus on cancer vaccines and cellular therapies, as well as immunotherapy for melanoma and hepatocellular cancer. 


Ted Lawrence, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology, Isadore Lampe Professor of Radiation Oncology, and the director of the Translational and Clinical Research Program at the University of Michigan’s Rogel Cancer Center, will discuss the intersection of immunotherapy and radiation oncology.


Following the presentations, speakers, V Scholars and V Foundation Scientific Advisory Committee members present at the symposium will be available for a Q&A session with attendees. Scientific Advisory Committee members represent The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Duke University Cancer Institute, Temple University Fox Chase Cancer Center, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Michigan’s Rogel Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, The Prostate Cancer Foundation, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Stanford University Medical Center, UNC Linebarger Cancer Center, University of California San Francisco Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, The University of Chicago Medical Center, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.


For more information, or to donate, please visit .


About the V Foundation Wine Celebration

Since 1999, the V Foundation Wine Celebration, benefitting the V Foundation for Cancer Research, has raised over $118 million for cancer research and related programs. This three-day signature series of events in the stunning Napa Valley demonstrates that commitment, passion and giving become the catalyst for positive change.


About the V Foundation for Cancer Research

The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State University basketball coach and ESPN commentator. Since 1993, the Foundation has funded more than $260 million in cancer research grants nationwide. Event proceeds benefit cancer research funded by the V Foundation. The Foundation awards game-changing grants through a competitive process strictly supervised by a Scientific Advisory Committee. For more information on the V Foundation or to donate, please visit .