MD Anderson Enlists Public to Put Cancer Cures Within Our Grasp
February, 2010The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center announces ambitious plans to raise $1 billion for cancer research by the end of 2011-the institution's 70th anniversary year. With more than $760 million in philanthropy already raised from volunteers and corporate supporters, M. D. Anderson is reaching out to the public with Making Cancer History®: The Campaign to Transform Cancer Care.
"Forty-one percent of Americans will develop cancer, which means, with very few exceptions, every family will be touched by this disease. The need is urgent," said John Mendelsohn, M.D., president of M. D. Anderson. "But the time is optimal because we have more knowledge than ever before about cancer and we have new research tools that position M. D. Anderson to speed progress against this disease.
"Now is an exciting and hopeful time to be in the field of cancer research because we know that cancer is caused by the malfunction of key genes and their products that control cell growth and proliferation. We know how to design drugs that can reverse these malfunctions. And we have new diagnostic technologies that enable us to apply that knowledge more quickly. Tremendous progress is within our grasp today, and M. D. Anderson scientists and clinical investigators are leading the way. Philanthropic funding is crucial to our success," Mendelsohn said.
The campaign is chaired by Harry Longwell, who leads a campaign executive committee of 19 members. Barbara and George H.W. Bush are honorary chairs of the campaign, which is the largest in M. D. Anderson's history. It is raising funds for research initiatives ranging from cancer prevention to personalized medicine, for an endowment aimed to educate and train the next generation of cancer research specialists, and for building a new research facility and supporting philanthropic priorities such as the Children's Cancer Hospital at M. D. Anderson.
Campaign support so far has included more than 160 gifts of $1 million or more.
Blueprint for Transformational Breakthroughs
A group of "virtual" institutes forms the centerpiece of the campaign. M. D. Anderson faculty leaders have created a new approach to cancer research designed to bring together people from diverse departments and disciplines in programs that focus on the entire continuum of cancer care, from prevention to survivorship. Funds raised in the campaign are essential to launching these institutes and driving concerted progress.
The five institutes include:
The Duncan Family Institute for Cancer Prevention and Risk Assessment: Established through a $35 million contribution from the Jan and Dan Duncan family, this institute will break new ground in addressing genetic and lifestyle risk factors that lead to cancer.
The Institute for Basic Science: This institute will focus on areas most critical to advancing fundamental knowledge about cancer-genetics and genomics; epigenetics; stem cell and developmental biology; structural biology; environmental and molecular carcinogenesis; biological pathways; and immunology, inflammation and infection.
The Institute for Cancer Care Excellence: This institute will creates a program focused on finding ways to enhance the quality of cancer care, ensure the safety and well-being of patients, and measure the effectiveness of treatment with accurate clinical outcomes data.
The Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy: The goal of this institute is to select individualized cancer therapy for each patient based on the genetic and molecular abnormalities in that particular patient's cancer.
The Red and Charline McCombs Institute for the Early Detection and Treatment of Cancer: This institute was launched in 2005 with a $30 million gift from the Charline and Red McCombs family of San Antonio. It focuses on translating basic science discoveries about the genes that cause cancer and the molecular pathways that promote its growth, survival and metastasis into new diagnostic tests and treatments targeting key genes and pathways.
"There's never been a more urgent time to support such a vital mission, and I am proud to be part of this important endeavor," said Longwell. "M. D. Anderson is the number one cancer center in the world, so it's best positioned to make the most progress against this dreadful disease. The clinicians there see more cancer patients than any other institution in the world-96,000 people last year-and they have the largest clinical trials program in the world to explore new approaches to effective cancer therapy. By supporting this campaign, donors are making wise investments in cancer research and truly impacting the lives of those touched by cancer."
M. D. Anderson has posted extensive information online for those interested in learning more about the Making Cancer History® campaign. The Web site, makingcancerhistorycampaign.org, provides more on the institutes and initiatives of the campaign, and describes progress against cancer and the optimism for tomorrow's breakthroughs through the stories of M. D. Anderson patients, employees and volunteers.
M. D. Anderson is hosting an evening of celebration at the Hilton Americas-Houston Feb.18 to thank those who already have given so much to push forward its mission, honor those who have succumbed to cancer and celebrate those who have survived. "America's Got Talent" star and cancer survivor Barbara Padilla will headline the event aimed at generating interest in and funds for the campaign.
For more information on the campaign or ways to give, please call 1-800-525-5841 or visit makingcancerhistorycampaign.org 02/18/10
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