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Partnering with UICC to Improve Cancer Care in Underserved Regions of the World

5 July 2018
Mark Reisenauer, senior vice president, oncology business unit, Astellas

Mark Reisenauer, Senior Vice President, Oncology Business Unit


The Astellas Oncology C3 Prize® has returned for its third year with a focus on improving cancer care in underserved regions of the world, and applications are now being accepted. In anticipation of the C3 Prize pitch presentation and winner announcement at the UICC’s 2018 World Cancer Congress, Mark Reisenauer, Senior Vice President, Oncology Business Unit, shares his views on the importance of partnerships to improve cancer care, and the subsequent success of the C3 Prize.

In just three months, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) will host its bi-annual World Cancer Congress, a major event in the global cancer control agenda, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

"I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for our company as well as others to participate in this one-of-a kind conference that will help strengthen ties across the cancer community to better care for those living with cancer."

There are so many reasons to attend:  First and foremost, participants will have the opportunity to meet and learn from other attendees who share the same ambition to advance cancer care. Second, attendees will have a chance to witness first-hand the live pitch presentation and winner announcement of our C3 Prize, a global challenge, aimed at inspiring non-treatment ideas that may improve cancer care for patients and their loved ones. Finally, for the presenters it is the perfect venue to showcase their ideas with leading cancer experts.

Astellas and UICC's shared multi-sectoral partnership approach


At Astellas, we have the privilege – and responsibility – of improving the health of patients worldwide. For more than a decade, Astellas has been committed to turning innovative science into medical solutions that bring value and hope to patients living with cancer worldwide. However, despite significant advances in treatment, patients and caregivers still face obstacles to receiving or providing optimal care. While continued development of innovative treatments is critical, I truly believe that education, support and commitment to the community are essential parts of the cancer care continuum, and recognize that only by working together will we make a difference in cancer care. 

That’s why as the leader of the oncology business unit at Astellas, I am very active in seeking and evaluating the right collaboration opportunities. I am especially grateful of our partnership with UICC on the Astellas Oncology C3 Prize to improve cancer care for patients and caregivers around the world. It is so important and rewarding to have a partner that is aligned with our mission and vision to enable cancer patients to truly focus on living.  Additionally, it is an honor to be a Vanguard Partner of UICC, and I commend UICC for recognizing the benefits of partnering with the private sector to deliver high-impact outcomes to accelerate the fight against cancer. As companies, like Astellas, are striving to make a positive impact in cancer care, UICC also plays a critical role in guiding and uniting us through conferences, awareness days, innovative programs, and more. For all of us, it really is about strength in numbers, and UICC is the critical lynchpin.

How we’re partnering on the C3 Prize

With guidance from UICC, we decided to focus this year’s Astellas Oncology C3 Prize on cancer care in low- and middle-income countries, which bear a disproportionate burden of the global cancer epidemic. In fact, a mere five percent of all resources devoted to cancer care globally are allotted to low- and middle-income countries. On a personal note, as a caregiver for my father, who passed away from cancer in 2016, I was surprised by the lack of resources available to help patients and caregivers navigate their treatment and the healthcare system, even in developed countries. That experience is part of what inspired us to initially create the C3 Prize and ultimately partner with UICC to work together to positively impact people’s lives. Since the launch of the program three years ago, I could not be more pleased with what we’ve achieved – with the help of UICC and our other partners – with the C3 Prize. Applicants have included patients, caregivers, healthcare providers and technology entrepreneurs from more than 20 countries around the world. Astellas has provided a total of $200,000 in grant funding to support seven innovative ideas for improving the lives of patients and their caregivers beyond treatment. Plus, we have captured the entrepreneurial spirit of people around the world. The 2017 Grand Prize Winner Hernâni Oliveira from Porto, Portugal is a prime example. His passion and appreciation for the C3 Prize is remarkable, and his HOPE Project is well on its way to making a difference for pediatric patients and their caregivers.

To learn more about the challenge and/or to apply, click here.  Entries will be accepted through July 25, 2018.

About the author

Mark Reisenauer has been Senior Vice President of the Oncology Business Unit at Astellas Pharma US (@AstellasUS ), Inc. since May 2011. A veteran oncology commercial leader, Mark is responsible for all U.S. commercial activities supporting marketed products and Astellas Pharma's oncology co-promotion partners. Mark was a caregiver for his father, who battled head and neck cancer before passing away on his 80th birthday.

Last update: 
Thursday 12 July 2018