About the Duncan Family Institute

The Duncan Family Institute for Cancer Prevention and Risk Assessment, formed in 2008 through a generous gift from the Duncan Family, is advancing the science and practice of cancer prevention by accelerating the discovery and translation of new knowledge about cancer risk factors and developing innovative ways to reduce risk and prevent cancer while expanding our studies to attack multiple risk factors using complementary strategies. The Duncan Family Institute serves to foster collaboration aimed at breaking new ground in cancer prevention. Scientists affiliated with the Institute are discovering the roles and effects of the interaction of biologic, genetic, environmental, behavioral and social factors in cancer development, investigating new medical and lifestyle interventions and the effect of the combination of these on reducing cancer risk, and increasing the pace of translation of discovery to the clinic and the community so that, ultimately, the benefits of our discoveries help reduce the overall burden of cancer.

The Duncan Family Institute will further enable MD Anderson to:

  • Become the world's premier center committed to cancer prevention research and practice with a specific goal of reducing the morbidity and mortality of cancer and its treatment.
  • Emerge as a definitive resource for educating the public and health care professionals about state-of-the-art practices in cancer prevention, the critical role that research plays in advancing knowledge and increasing our ability to offer better options tomorrow.
  • Train future generations of researchers and practitioners committed to cancer prevention and to the broader mission of improving and sustaining health.

The singular motivation driving this vision is a shared commitment to improve the outlook for those at increased risk for cancer, cancer survivors, their families and the general public. The Institute will foster a unique environment that attracts and retains multidisciplinary teams of world-class faculty and staff experienced in pursuing basic, translational, and clinical science to achieve two interrelated goals:

  1. Making scientific discoveries focused on the earliest stages of cancer development, mindful of their potential applications to later stage cancers as well.
  2. Translating those discoveries into new tools and novel applications of existing tools that can be used to reduce the burden of cancer and advance public health, while simultaneously probing the cascade of discovery questions generated by research.

With one of the premier cancer prevention programs in the world, the researchers and physicians of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences are dedicated to increasing the nation’s focus on cancer prevention. Research in behavioral science, epidemiology and chemoprevention are rapidly increasing the possibilities of preventing even more cancers. This powerful partnership will provide seed funding for promising new projects to accelerate the pace of discovery and the translation of findings to the clinic and community. Together, MD Anderson and the Dan L. Duncan Family Foundation will inspire scientific discoveries that may be translated into real-world changes and reduce the burden of cancer on individuals, families and society.

The Duncan Family Institute for Cancer Prevention and Risk Assessment Executive Committee (DFI EC) provides oversight of the research and use of the philanthropic funds to ensure the excellence of the programs within the Duncan Family Institute.  Members are the Vice President, Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences; the chairs of the five division of cancer prevention and population sciences departments; and the directors of the division’s and institute’s centers which, as of January 7, 2014, are the Cancer Prevention Center, Behavioral Research and Treatment Center, Center for Translational and Public Health Genomics, Center for Energy Balance in Cancer Prevention and Survivorship and the Center for Community-Engaged Translational Research; and the Vice President, Health Policy.  The Duncan Family Institute Executive Director is a non-voting member.  Special Representatives may be added to the DFI EC in a non-voting capacity at the recommendation of the DFI EC members.  Changes to the membership of the DFI EC may be made at the recommendation of the DFI EC to the Vice President, Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences who has final authority regarding changes to DFI EC membership.

News & Media

"With these additional resources, the doctors, researchers, administrators and employees of MD Anderson are poised to extend the institution's tradition of innovative advances to the field of prevention, hopefully sparing future generations the ordeal of cancer treatments."- Dan Duncan

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Investing in promising new directions while expanding and integrating all aspects of its prevention program from basic research to clinical studies to public health research

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