MD Anderson celebrates 75 years of Making Cancer History®

Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden to attend anniversary gala

Since 1941, when the Texas Legislature established the state’s first cancer hospital, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has been a beacon of hope for more than 1.1 million patients. The nation’s No. 1 hospital for cancer care and research will mark its 75th anniversary with a weeklong celebration, Nov. 7-14. During its sold-out gala on Nov. 10, which has raised more than $13.5 million, Vice President Joe Biden will deliver remarks and the creation of the Beau Biden Chair for Brain Cancer Research will be announced.

Throughout its 75-year history, MD Anderson has been recognized around the globe for its contributions to the understanding, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer. From early advances in diagnostic radiology and the development of mammography technology to the basic science exploration that led to immunotherapy and our ability to harness the immune system to attack cancer, MD Anderson’s multi-disciplinary approach to cancer care has led to significant progress for more than seven decades. Watch this commemorative anniversary video, 75 years in 75 seconds.

“As we celebrate this historic milestone, we’re inspired by the extraordinary vision of MD Anderson’s forefathers, and we remain focused on our mission to end cancer by disrupting the status quo with big ideas and bold initiatives like the Moon Shots Program,” said Ronald A. DePinho, M.D., president of MD Anderson. “We’re honored to welcome dignitaries from around the world, including Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, to reflect on our many breakthroughs and envision Making Cancer History. As cancer fighters, we’re driven by boundless hope and optimism made possible with each scientific discovery, each clinical breakthrough and each new piece of knowledge disseminated. Knowledge is cancer’s greatest vulnerability and its dissemination will make a meaningful impact on patients and their families.”

MD Anderson’s drive and innovation have led to lifesaving advances for patients around the globe. In 2012, MD Anderson launched the Moon Shots Program™, an institution-wide effort focused on rapidly and dramatically reducing mortality and suffering in cancer. In the program’s first three years of implementation, researchers and clinicians have blazed new trails in translational research, making novel cancer therapies available to patients and beginning clinical trials in first-in-class drugs.

MD Anderson also enables patients to access its care, expertise and research-based approaches through collaborations with likeminded community hospitals, health systems and academic centers. The MD Anderson Cancer Network® includes 24 institutions from California to New Jersey, and the institution’s international work influences the cancer care of approximately one-third of the world’s population.

“Cancer affects everyone. As the world’s premier cancer center, we have a solemn responsibility to quickly share our knowledge to address this global program,” said DePinho. “As we celebrate the outstanding work of our colleagues over the past 75 years, we also look to the future with enthusiasm during this golden era of cancer research. Now, more than ever, we have the opportunity to confine cancer to history for the generations to come.”

To commemorate its diamond jubilee, the institution plans an array of festivities to recognize patients and survivors, donors, volunteers, employees and faculty members. The schedule of activities includes an employee recognition event, a cancer survivorship conference, the Boot Walk to End CancerTM, commemorated by a 75th anniversary boot ornament designed by MD Anderson’s Children’s Art Project, a faculty convocation, an employee service awards banquet and a gala dinner underwritten by Cooper University Health Care.

“In the fast-paced world of cancer research and care, anniversaries offer an opportunity to reflect on all that we’ve accomplished,” said John Mendelsohn, M.D., MD Anderson’s third full-time president and professor of Genomic Medicine. “MD Anderson is like no other institution in the world. The accomplishments made within its walls during the past 75 years are profound, and what is yet to come is unimaginable. We truly are Making Cancer History.”

75 Years of Making Cancer History®

The Texas legislature created MD Anderson in 1941 as a part of The University of Texas System.
The MD Anderson Foundation matched state funds to build a cancer hospital and bought the seven-acre
estate of Capt. James A. Baker, grandfather of James A. Baker, III, as temporary quarters for the
fledgling cancer hospital and research institute, later providing a permanent building site in the Texas Medical Center. As the largest freestanding cancer center in the world, MD Anderson occupies 16 million square feet and is one of the world’s most respected centers devoted exclusively to cancer patient care, research, education and prevention.  

The institution is first in the nation in total funding from the National Cancer Institute. MD Anderson’s cancer clinical trials program is the largest in the world, with more than 9,400 patients participating in almost 1,200 clinical trials. Last year, MD Anderson invested nearly $800 million in research aimed at rapidly translating scientific knowledge to innovative cancer therapies and cancer prevention strategies. More than 6,600 trainees took part in MD Anderson educational programs, including more than 1,500 clinical residents and fellows who received specialized training in the investigation and treatment of cancer. More than 300 students attended the institution’s School of Health Professions, which offers bachelor’s degrees in eight allied health disciplines and a master of science in diagnostic genetics.