UT MD Anderson Announces Completion of Pickens Research Endowment

MD Anderson News Release 09/16/10

To help ensure funding for cancer research in the future, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has completed a $500 million research endowment that began with a $50 million gift from philanthropist T. Boone Pickens.

Pickens made his donation - the largest single gift in MD Anderson's history - with the stipulation that MD Anderson would not begin to use the funds until other funds could be added to create a $500 million endowment.

Proceeds from the endowment, but not the $500 million principal itself, will support basic, translational, clinical and population research at MD Anderson to create further progress in cancer prevention, detection, treatment and survivorship.

"I'm delighted that MD Anderson has achieved this within only a few years," says Pickens. "I have expressed my desire to build a major legacy that would help ensure the excellence of the institution in the decades to come and make life better for those battling cancer. MD Anderson has done just that, and in a remarkable amount of time."

Institutional funds contributed to the Pickens research endowment come largely from MD Anderson's operating and patient care revenues that traditionally support research, educational programs, facilities construction and renovation, and major equipment.

The purpose of the research endowment is "to capitalize on amazing leaps in scientific knowledge about cancer and its treatment that have been made, here and around the world, in the last few years," said John Mendelsohn, M.D., president of MD Anderson.

"We want to thank all of our faculty and staff for their extraordinary work, particularly over the past 18 months, that have made this possible," Mendelsohn said. "Our researchers are poised to find ways to make even greater progress in treating cancer effectively and in preventing many cancers altogether. The Pickens endowment will be of immense help in accomplishing those goals."

Mendelsohn added that MD Anderson also is taking this extra step to ensure an adequate pipeline for research funding in an uncertain economic climate.

"We realize there is still instability in the global economy and health care marketplace that could jeopardize traditional sources of research funding, so an endowment of this size provides us with the opportunity to prepare for the future," Mendelsohn said. "We can't let the uncertainties of the economy stand in the way of defeating a disease that still kills 1,500 Americans every day."

As an expression of gratitude to Pickens, the UT System Board of Regents approved MD Anderson's request to name its new, 21-story academic building the T. Boone Pickens Academic Tower. The building contains faculty, executive and educational offices, classrooms, conference facilities and a research medical library.

Additionally, MD Anderson honored Pickens as one of its "Living Legends" at its 2008 annual A Conversation with a Living Legend event in Dallas.

Pickens has long supported MD Anderson, funding some of the institution's first programs in cancer prevention more than 25 years ago and serving on its Board of Visitors from 1977 to 1986, including a term as chair from 1983-1984.

Note to media: You can find a catalog of MD Anderson's research achievements, with citations from first publication in the world's scientific literature, at http://www.mdanderson.org/education-and-research/research-at-md-anderson/research-and-clinical-achievements/index.html. 09/16/10