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A Message From Dr. DePinho

photo by F. Carter Smith“Promise” is more than the name of this publication:  It’s been MD Anderson’s commitment to patients for more than 70 years. All who work here promise to provide the most effective, the safest, the most compassionate care. Reflected in the institution’s mission, vision and core values, this promise is the mindset of each of our 20,000 employees, whether they work in a clinic or inpatient unit or in an administrative office. Our outstanding and consistent patient safety record reflects this promise, as does our superior quality of care, which we always strive to enhance.

A bold initiative

How can we work together to improve what is already so outstanding? Through innovation and imagination. A year ago this fall MD Anderson launched the Moon Shots Program, a bold initiative to significantly reduce the suffering and death caused by cancer. We’re focusing initially on acute myeloid leukemia/myelodysplastic syndrome, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, melanoma, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and triple-negative breast and high-grade serous ovarian cancers.

This is an unprecedented effort to accelerate declines in cancer mortality, and as we make progress we’ll eventually apply this model across the board to all cancers. Our success relies heavily on private philanthropy, and the enthusiastic donor response has been truly gratifying and humbling. Total private philanthropic commitment to the moon shots has exceeded $139 million. The rapid accomplishment of this milestone underscores your generosity and your confidence in MD Anderson’s mission to eradicate cancer.

Accolades are in order

As we celebrate this anniversary, there are many other accomplishments to share with you.  We’ve been busy this past year building crosscutting platforms, scientific enterprises that bring together the best attributes of academia and industry. The professional teams staffing these platforms will operate in a goal-oriented, milestone-driven manner to convert current knowledge into drugs, tests, devices and policies that can benefit patients as quickly as possible. The 10 platforms, ranging from immunotherapy to cancer control, are a true differentiator for MD Anderson and will be of benefit to all our faculty.

Broad, deep and outstanding research in cancer science, treatment and prevention have earned the continuation of our critical Cancer Center Support Grant,  a $48.6-million, five-year grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). In our recently announced renewal, we earned an “exceptional” ranking, the highest possible, from the NCI’s extensive peer-review process. The many accomplishments of our faculty during the past five years of the grant include:

  • Led clinical trials contributing to 22 of 71 cancer drug approvals by the Food and Drug Administration, providing new options for cancer patients.
  • Published more than 12,000 papers in distinguished journals to significantly expand the understanding of cancer prevention, detection, treatment and survivorship.
  • Remained the top recipient of grants and funding from the NCI, with more than 220 grants in effect totaling $120 million annually.
  • Won more than 50 multi-investigator grants, including 12 Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE), which the NCI awards to translate preclinical research discoveries into clinical trials for new treatments.  MD Anderson has more SPOREs than any other cancer center.

Everything we do is about addressing the cancer problem and applying promising insights as quickly and decisively as possible. It’s about collaborating across many disciplines, bringing together teams of scientists, clinicians, educators, policy makers and more to make a difference across the entire cancer care continuum.

Cancer is a global issue. Current projections predict 14 million deaths annually to cancer worldwide by 2030. For the sake of our loved ones and for generations to come, we must do everything within our collective power to change this grim scenario. The challenge is ours. With your help, we can and will get the job done. And that’s another promise.

Make a difference

Your gift to MD Anderson makes a difference in the lives of cancer patients by supporting innovative patient care, research, education and prevention programs. You can Donate Now or learn more at myGiving to MD Anderson.

© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center