$5 Million Gift to M. D. Anderson Benefits Pancreatic Cancer Research
Kansas City Couple Commits to Under-Funded Research
M. D. Anderson News Release 7/29/2003
Cheryl and Jack Lockton have given $5 million to The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center’s pancreatic cancer research program, a gift that equals the largest single private donation given to the institution’s pancreatic cancer program.
With the $5 million gift, the Locktons have given a total of $6.15 million to pancreatic cancer research at M. D. Anderson since 2000. Mr. Lockton was diagnosed with the disease that same year and began treatment at the institution.
“Pancreatic cancer research is woefully under-funded, and it is our goal to make M. D. Anderson’s pancreatic cancer research activities the best and biggest in America,” says Mr. Lockton, chairman of Lockton Companies in Kansas City, Mo. “We want to initiate research that would not be otherwise funded or accomplished, and we want to do it through new activities and new ideas.”
The Locktons’ $5 million gift will fund:
Lockton Distinguished Chair in Pancreatic Cancer Research:To provide the necessary funding to enable the institution to recruit a new senior faculty member of national prominence in the field of pancreatic cancer research.
Grant-matching incentives:To encourage new and innovative pancreatic cancer research at M. D. Anderson, the Lockton Fund will match monies earned by researchers through the National Institutes of Health or the American Cancer Society for pancreas-specific research.
Targeted discovery:Under the direction of Douglas B. Evans, M.D., professor of surgical oncology, andLee M. Ellis, M.D., professor of surgical oncology and cancer biology, this research program will focus on the rapid translation of evolving laboratory discoveries into clinical application in the early diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer.
Because pancreatic cancer accounts for only 2% of all newly diagnosed cancers in the United States each year, private philanthropy to the disease site, compared to others such as breast cancer, is relatively minimal. However, according to the National Cancer Institute, pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of adult cancer deaths. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2003, pancreatic cancer will be responsible for approximately 30,000 deaths in the United States. The disease is often advanced by the time symptoms occur, and therefore, researchers are actively exploring novel approaches to early diagnosis.
“We are extremely grateful for the Locktons’ commitment and excited about the opportunity made available by such a generous gift. The potential this pledge provides will initiate and promote pivotal research to help us understand all levels of this disease, including early diagnosis as well as the biology and mechanisms of the disease, and help us initiate innovative methods of treatment,” says M. D. Anderson President John Mendelsohn, M.D.
The Locktons already have begun to make a difference in pancreatic cancer research. In 2000, they committed $1.15 million to fund basic science research in the areas of early diagnosis, angiogenesis (tumor blood vessel growth) and cell signaling.
“Jack has challenged us to make M. D. Anderson the leader in pancreatic cancer research,” says Evans. “Those of us who have committed to treating patients with this disease gladly accept that challenge and will do everything we can to fulfill his vision and his mandate.”
Jack Lockton also accepted an invitation in April to become a member of M. D. Anderson’s Board of Visitors, the institution’s advisory board. His term officially begins September 1.
Jack Lockton founded then Lockton Insurance in Kansas City, Mo. in 1966. From a modest, home-based business, Lockton Companies has become the largest, independently owned insurance broker in the United States, delivering insurance, surety, employee benefits and risk management services.