Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), a national organization devoted to accelerating cancer research, has formed a “Dream Team” of top scientists whose goal is to make significant advances against colorectal cancer, with funding of as much as $12 million.

Charles S. Fuchs, M.D., M.P.H., Richard Sackler and Jonathan Sackler Professor of Medicine and director of Yale Cancer Center, will be a co-leader of the research team, along with Luis A. Diaz, M.D., of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

The team is charged with finding new approaches to a disease that will take the lives of an estimated 50,000 Americans this year. “The biology of colon cancer presents unique challenges that are distinct from other cancers,” says Fuchs. “It doesn’t avail itself as other cancers do to current cancer drugs. We want to understand what makes colorectal cancer invisible to the immune system, so we can develop immunotherapy treatments.”

While colorectal cancer has been an important research focus throughout his career, Fuchs now has added motivation to investigate it. His wife, Joanna R. Fuchs, M.D., survived the disease after being diagnosed in 2006. Charles Fuchs says that experience also informs his clinical care. “I tell my patients, ‘I understand. I’ve been there.’ ” Joanna Fuchs will serve as a patient advocate for the Dream Team.

SU2C was co-founded in 2008 by the journalist Katie Couric, whose husband Jay Monahan had died of colorectal cancer in 1998. Since it was established, SU2C has organized 20 “Dream Teams” to investigate a variety of cancers.