The mission of the William Guy Forbeck Research Foundation is to promote advances in the field of oncology, particularly pediatric oncology, by shortening the cancer research timetable.
Established in 1985 by George and Jennifer Forbeck, from its inception the William Guy Forbeck Research Foundation has addressed its mission through a unique approach: by focusing on driving communications and collaborations between scientists and clinicians. Building these connections are vital facilitators of advancing oncology research.
The programs of the William Guy Forbeck Research Foundation (WGFRF) are as follows, and are overseen by the Scientific Advisory Board, a distinguished panel of physicians and scientists:
- The Annual Forum: The cornerstone program of WGFRF, this is an intimate three-day “think tank” held each November on Hilton Head, SC for a handful of leading international cancer researchers. Since its inception in 1985, the Forum has been a venue to discuss cancer “hot topics” such as genomics, stem cells and vaccines. Today, over 25 years later, the Forum is established as an important cancer think tank at the highest level. The Forum’s format – facilitating great thinking in a beautiful setting – has been adopted by many other organizations.
- The Scholar Retreat: WGFRF is committed to cultivating the ‘next generation’ of cancer investigators. The Forbeck Scholar Award annually recognizes four early-career oncology investigators with great future promise. Scholars attend the Foundation’s Scholar Retreat in Lake Geneva, WI, for a term of four years, and also attend the Annual Forum. Like the Forum, the Scholar Retreat is an intimate three-day meeting with three or four senior scientific mentors, offering an educational, career development and networking opportunity for the Scholars.
- Focus Meeting Awards: To further drive collaboration in cancer research, WGFRF offers ‘Focus Meeting Awards’ to fund small international meetings addressing important topics in the cancer arena. These Awards are solicited and issued through a competitive process and are exclusively available to current and past Forbeck Scholars, thereby serving as a further tool for the cultivation of the next generation of cancer researchers.
- The International Neuroblastoma Staging System and International Neuroblastoma Risk Group: At the heart of WGFRF is an enduring commitment to neuroblastoma, a rare pediatric cancer with a bleak prognosis. WGFRF was established by George and Jennifer Forbeck in honor of their son, Billy Guy Forbeck, who succumbed to neuroblastoma at age 11. Since1985, WGFRF has supported the formation and growth of the International Neuroblastoma Staging System and International Neuroblastoma Risk Group (INSS/INRG). This is a consortium of over 60 international neuroblastoma researchers and clinicians that has developed the first universal classification criteria for neuroblastoma diagnosis and clinical management.
- The Interactive INRG Database: Centered at the University of Chicago under the guidance of Dr. Susan Cohn, the INRG database has accrued clinical data on over 10,000 neuroblastoma patients, contributed by member sites of the international INRG community. In 2011, WGFRF commenced a co-funding effort with The St. Baldrick’s Foundation to support the development of an interactive, online version of the INRG Database. This will accelerate clinical research by connecting the INRG database electronically with tissue repositories and other clinical resources around the world.