But cancer can’t stop us.
It can’t eclipse the courage shown each day by our patients and their loved ones. Patients who are people, not statistics. Each one represents a life turned upside down by this disease, and each one inspires us to do more, to make their disease history.
They are the brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers and friends who have fought or are fighting cancer with our 20,000-strong team of physicians, scientists and employees. Theirs are the faces we see each day in our clinics and when we close our eyes and focus on our mission of Making Cancer History®.
They are the people we serve.
They inspired us to create the Patient and Family Advisory Council, which gives patients, families, caregivers and survivors a platform to share ideas and offer creative solutions to help MD Anderson improve our patients’ experience. Our patients’ time is precious, so we’re advancing the systems that support our efforts, and we’re committed to providing anyone who enters our doors a positive overall experience.
We are the people who serve.
Cancer can’t stop our determined fighters who confront the disease every day, at every level. From the transportation representatives who shuttle patients across the skybridge, to the oncology nurses who care for and educate patients; from the researchers who push the envelope of knowledge to develop novel, more effective therapies, to the surgeons who enlist leading-edge technology to eradicate tumors, each one of us plays a special role in our efforts to end this disease.
Our reputation in Texas, the United States and around the world is second to none. Thanks in large part to our exceptional faculty, we continue to be the most impactful cancer institution in the world. We have extraordinary reach because of our expert team, including Guillermina Lozano, chair of Genetics, and David Piwnica-Worms, chair of Cancer Systems Imaging, who were elected to the Institute of Medicine this past October. Nine members of our faculty now belong to that elite institution. And just recently, eight members of our faculty were named as fellows by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, bringing our total to an impressive 32.
The gravitational pull of our esteemed faculty has attracted several significant recruits, including V. Craig Jordan, the father of tamoxifen; Debu Tripathy, our new chair of Breast Medical Oncology; David Tweardy, the new head of Internal Medicine — one of the largest divisions in the nation; and Stephen Hahn, who now leads Radiation Oncology — the premier program in the world.
And I can’t mention the people who serve without calling special attention to the more than 1,000 volunteers who collectively gave 165,000 hours of service last year, and our Board of Visitors, whose stewardship and support enable our mission. We all can learn from the example set by these generous and caring folks.
We are achieving decisive discoveries through science that enables.
In the past year, we continued to demonstrate MD Anderson is a research powerhouse, a fact highlighted throughout this report. We invested more than $735 million in research, and received more than $47 million in funding from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. Research investment has also served as a valuable tool in attracting superstar faculty recruits at the junior level, such as Cullen Taniguchi in Radiation Oncology and Florencia McAllister in Clinical Cancer Prevention.
Also fueling our research is philanthropic support that totaled more than $230 million in cash, pledges and planned gifts — more than double the amount raised a decade ago. Big or small, every gift is important in our fight.
We’re racing to make the next great cancer discoveries, and to turn what we learn in our labs, clinics and the community into new standards of care for our patients. Through the Moon Shots Program, our colleagues have made exceptional progress, such as the practice-changing treatment algorithm developed by the Ovarian Moon Shot team. You’ll read about survivor Leslie Russell, who benefited from this new protocol, as well as the many gains we’ve made in our mission.
We put our patients first, but we also work to eventually put ourselves out of business by promoting prevention in our community. Topping the list of giant leaps we’ve made in the past year through our cancer prevention and control efforts is the EndTobacco program, which addresses public health enemy No. 1: preventable death and disease caused by tobacco use. By helping smokers quit and reducing smoking among young people, we can make a measurable impact on the cancer burden.
We’re also focused on HPV and working to ensure those eligible for this “cancer vaccine” receive all three doses. Almost every sexually active person will acquire HPV at some point in their lives, and the virus is linked to a number of cancers. Major efforts by our faculty are underway to improve screening and prevention in underserved areas and increase awareness and access to the vaccine.
Our work is never done; sustainability is always top of mind.
As an institution, MD Anderson has never accepted the status quo. We’re constantly exploring new ideas and anticipating change. We know, in the face of America’s shifting health care system, standing still won’t get us where we want to go.
From collaborative partnerships with four major pharmaceutical companies to develop new ways for the immune system to destroy tumors, to the launch of a pilot program with UnitedHealthcare that is exploring a bundled payment model for head and neck cancers, we have fantastic opportunities to cultivate our innovative efforts.
Our ability to impact cancer care around the globe is unparalleled. MD Anderson Cancer Network® continues to grow through partnerships with Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital’s Oncology Program and Memorial Hermann’s breast imaging and diagnostic services. And our expanded efforts in Brazil at Albert Einstein Hospital, in India at Tata Memorial Centre and with other sister institutions continue to generate impressive results for patients in many nations around the world.
This past year was filled with outstanding accomplishments, and I’m so proud of the tireless effort shown by everyone associated with MD Anderson — our employees, patients and their families, advocates, volunteers, donors, legislators and beyond. Together, we are relentless in the pursuit of our mission.
Cancer won’t win. We will.