PfizerIn conjunction with World Cancer Day, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and Pfizer Inc. announce the third round of the Seeding Progress And Resources for the Cancer Community (SPARC): Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) Challenge: their pioneering grants initiative designed to support the implementation of projects worldwide that address the specific needs of women with metastatic breast cancer in local communities - many of which extend beyond treatment.

A total of US$275,000 in funding will be awarded to 10 new organizations, bringing the SPARC awardees network to 50 cancer organizations from all across the globe with a total funding of US$1,565,000. As part of this new round, five grantees from Round 2 of the SPARC MBC Challenge will receive additional funding to continue their projects.

In addition to receiving the seed grant to support their projects, the new awardees will benefit from trainings, best-practice sharing workshops, and mentoring. They will also have the opportunity to participate in key global convening cancer events to network, share knowledge, and showcase their work.

Dr Cary Adams, Chief Executive Officer of the Union for International Cancer Control, said: "We are proud that, together with Pfizer, we will continue to improve the lives of people living with metastatic breast cancer cross the world through this unique programme that combines seed grants, mentoring and peer-to-peer learning."

The impact of the SPARC MBC Challenge has been significant. Since the initiative launched in 2015, over 8,000 patients from 30 countries have been reached directly through SPARC projects, and more than 125,000 people have benefitted from SPARC advocacy campaigns and information materials. Organizations such as Project Pink Blue and Run for a Cure Africa have reached the next level receiving international awards and additional funds after receiving the SPARC grant. In particular, SPARC contributed to:

  • Supporting metastatic breast cancer patients through projects such as the creation of an online app to guide patients in finding financial resources to cover some of the expenses of the disease in Canada; a project for young women to better cope with MBC through integrative oncology techniques (occupational therapy, expressive creative techniques, mind body intervention, and acupuncture) in Mexico and training for patients on the importance of treatment adherence in Bulgaria
  • Strengthening advocates and supporting the development of a positive national policy environment for MBC. SPARC projects have delivered training on advocacy for metastatic breast cancer for individuals from 47 European countries, supported the recent inclusion of medicines for MBC in the National Essential Medicines list in Kyrgyzstan and contributed to the development of supportive national legislation on cancer in Brazil and Nigeria.
  • Reducing the information gap for patients, with information materials and advocacy campaigns created in 26 local languages. SPARC enabled the creation of the first navigational programs in Nigeria and Trinidad & Tobago.
  • Building local capacity. Nearly 2,000 health professionals were trained on how to manage the specific needs of MBC patients across all SPARC projects. In Australia, an e-learning training was deployed across the country to help nurses better attend to the needs of MBC patients.

"We're proud of the far-reaching impact that the SPARC MBC Challenge has had over the past four years on metastatic breast cancer patients around the world, ranging from educational resources to tailored programming," said Andy Schmeltz, Global President, Pfizer Oncology, "With our ongoing partnership with UICC and this year’s renewal, we look forward to continuing to make a difference for breast cancer patients around the globe."

Applications to the new round of the SPARC grants will open at the end of February and new SPARC awardees will be announced in October 2019.

About the Seeding Progress and Resources for the Cancer Community (SPARC): Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) Challenge

The SPARC MBC Challenge aims to address critical issues for those at risk of, or living with metastatic breast cancer. The SPARC grants consist of seed-funding, capacity building and convening opportunities to launch and strengthen new projects addressing the needs of MBC patients. Awardees are integrated into the SPARC network where they can share best practices, learn from others and share resources between themselves. The awardees are selected by an independent, external steering committee, consisting of leading experts in the fields of cancer care and chaired by globally renowned oncologist and leading breast cancer advocate, Dr Fatima Cardoso.

More information is available at:

About the Union for International Cancer Control

The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) is the largest and oldest international organization dedicated to the fight against cancer. Founded in Geneva in 1933, UICC has over 1,100 members in 170 countries, enjoys consultative status with the United Nations (ECOSOC) and has official relations with the following institutions: WHO, IARC, IAEA, UNODC. UICC has over 50 partners, including associations working to fight cancer, as well as companies and foundations. UICC is a founding member of the NCD Alliance, McCabe Centre and ICCP.

UICC's mission is to unite and support the cancer community to reduce the global cancer burden, to promote greater equality and to ensure that the cancer control continues to be a priority in the world health and development agenda. Its main areas of activity focus on convening the world's leaders for innovative, widereaching, cancer-control events and initiatives; building capacity to meet regional needs; and developing awareness campaigns.

About Pfizer Oncology

At Pfizer Oncology, we are committed to advancing medicines wherever we believe we can make a meaningful difference on the lives of patients. Today, Pfizer Oncology has an industry leading portfolio of 17 approved innovative cancer medicines and biosimilars across more than 20 indications, including breast, prostate, kidney, lung and hematology. We also have several assets in mid to late-stage development for the treatment of cancer or as supportive care. Pfizer Oncology is striving to change the trajectory of cancer.

Pfizer Inc: Working together for a healthier world®

At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products. Our global portfolio includes medicines and vaccines as well as many of the world's best-known consumer health care products. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world's premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 150 years, we have worked to make a difference for all who rely on us.