They want to fill the void left by less federal funding for research
In today’s economy, with government funding for cancer research difficult to come by, private philanthropy is essential.
Realizing this, four MD Anderson Board of Visitors members took matters into their own hands and personally endowed three new faculty research awards. Together, the awards funded by Bill Finneran, Jack Randall, Regina Rogers and Gary Stein will provide millions in support over several years for clinical research.
The Finneran Family Prize in Translational Research
Prostate cancer survivor Bill Finneran recalls the impeccable care he received at MD Anderson 21 years ago.
“The personal care and attention provided by the doctors and staff was phenomenal,” says Finneran, who divides his time between New York and Palm Beach, Florida. “I always found total commitment on every level of patient care, as well as the highest quality of research.”
He established the Finneran Family Prize, a $50,000 cash award given annually to a deserving faculty member. Christopher Logothetis, M.D., Finneran’s physician and chair of Genitourinary Medical Oncology, received the inaugural prize for his leadership and innovation in cancer care, particularly as co-leader of MD Anderson’s Prostate Cancer Moon Shot.
The Jack and Beverly Randall Prize for Excellence in Cancer Research
Jack Randall and his wife, Beverly, know it takes big ideas to get big results, and they established the Jack and Beverly Randall Prize for Excellence in Cancer Research to encourage innovative ideas and novel thinking among researchers.
“It takes creativity, passion and tenacity to have big breakthroughs,” says Jack. “It’s only through original ideas and a willingness to take a chance on the most promising concepts that vision becomes a reality.”
The $100,000 cash prize is awarded annually and alternates between cancer research and patient care.
“We think it’s important to build on MD Anderson’s history of achievement by honoring, encouraging and advancing innovation,” says Beverly. “This award is our way of supporting tomorrow’s leaders so they have the incentive and resources needed to make this happen.”
Andrew Futreal, Ph.D., chair ad interim of Genomic Medicine, is the inaugural recipient. Futreal is recognized for his groundbreaking research in large-scale systematic cancer genomics.
The Shirley Stein Scientific Endowed Research Award
Gary Stein teamed up with longtime family friend Regina Rogers to create the Shirley Stein Scientific Endowed Research Award in honor of his mother and Regina’s best friend, the late Shirley Stein.
“Mom was a force of nature,” says Stein. “She felt strongly that MD Anderson is one of Houston’s crown jewels and needs to be taken care of. This is one way we can honor her memory.”
Two faculty members will receive a $12,000 cash award each year to support outstanding clinical research performed with limited project resources.
The inaugural awards went to Alejandro Contreras, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of Pathology, and Yun Wu, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Pathology. Contreras’ research focuses on identifying genetic alterations believed to contribute to aggressive forms of breast cancer. Wu’s research focuses on identifying molecular biomarkers for breast cancer prognosis and targeted therapy.
The MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors is an appointed board of individuals committed to helping MD Anderson achieve its mission of eliminating cancer. Board programs emphasize private fund development, public relations and outreach on behalf of the institution. For a complete list of board members and more Development updates from FY15, see "MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors."