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MD Anderson Receives Largest Gift in Its History

Ahmed Jumaa Al Zaabi, vice minister of presidential affairs, and John Mendelsohn,    M.D., mark the occasion of a $150 million gift to MD Anderson on behalf of the President of the United Arab Emirates and his family foundation, the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation.
Photo courtesy of the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation

By DeDe DeStefano

The Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation recently gave MD Anderson $150 million. The gift marks the largest in the institution’s history and the largest single contribution from a living individual or family foundation to an institution in the Texas Medical Center or any Texas university. The transformational gift is on behalf of the President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and his family foundation. It will enable MD Anderson to make significant advances in personalized cancer therapies and accelerate the pace of pancreatic cancer research.

“The extraordinary generosity of the family through the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation exemplifies the family’s long tradition of philanthropy,” says John Mendelsohn, M.D., president of MD Anderson.

The gift will pay tribute to the late His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder and former President of the UAE, and his sons, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the current UAE President; and the late Sheikh Ahmed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Their generosity makes possible:

The Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Building for Personalized Cancer Care: a new, 600,000-square-foot state-of-the-art building on approximately five acres on MD Anderson’s main campus. The building will integrate delivery of basic and clinical research to support personalized cancer care and will house:

The Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy, a comprehensive program designed exclusively to individualize cancer care so that each patient receives treatments that target the genetic and molecular abnormalities in his or her tumor. Mendelsohn will co-direct the institute with Gordon Mills, M.D., Ph.D., who also chairs MD Anderson’s Department of Systems Biology. Hundreds of MD Anderson’s faculty will participate.

The Sheikh Ahmed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research, dedicated to accelerating scientific discovery that will make a pivotal impact on pancreatic cancer, one of the most fatal types of cancer, which is rising in incidence yet remains significantly underfunded compared to other disease sites.
Research in personalized cancer therapies will enable physicians to determine the specific genetic and molecular abnormalities in each patient’s cancer and then prescribe or develop safer, more effective therapies that directly target these abnormalities.

“Personalized cancer therapy holds tremendous promise for the future of cancer care,” says Mendelsohn. “This gift will escalate progress exponentially, playing a critical role in our efforts to employ the most effective cancer treatment the first time, every time.”

Fueling cancer care and research

Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation’s $150 million gift to MD Anderson also will establish fellowships to further education in the field of oncology as well as three permanent endowment funds:

  • The Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Distinguished University Chair
  • The Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Distinguished University Chair of Medical Oncology
  • The Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Distinguished University Chair.

A history of service to others

The late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan formed the UAE in 1971 and served as president until his death in 2004. He established lifetime government services for UAE citizens, including free schools, free health care and increased equality for women. He built cities, towns, hospitals and universities. His son, the Honorable Sheikh Khalifa Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, continues his tradition of philanthropy. Active in 35 countries outside the UAE, the Khalifa Foundation focuses on health care and education initiatives, innovative biomedical research and poverty.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center