MD Anderson is one of five cancer centers participating in a collaborative effort that aims to find solutions to the disease’s most intractable challenges.
Break Through Cancer, a public foundation, was launched recently with one of the largest gifts ever made solely to cancer research. Making a challenge pledge of $250 million were Mr. and Mrs. William H. Goodwin, Jr., and their family, and the estate of William Hunter Goodwin III.
MD Anderson researchers are joining collaborative teams funded and supported by Break Through Cancer, along with other top cancer centers — Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Tyler Jacks, Ph.D., the David H. Koch Professor of Biology and founding director of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, leads the effort.
The foundation’s initial programs focus on highly challenging cancer types, including pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, glioblastoma and acute myeloid leukemia, aided by the guidance of a scientific advisory board of cancer experts from outside the participating institutions. Teams will receive substantial funding to bring new approaches as rapidly as possible to the clinical challenges of cancer.
The organization is supported by a board including leaders from each of the participating institutions, with William G. Nelson, V, M.D., Ph.D., the Marion I. Knott Professor of Oncology and director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, serving as chair. MD Anderson’s representatives include Giulio Draetta, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president and chief scientific officer, and David Jaffray, Ph.D., senior vice president and chief technology and digital officer.
“We are incredibly grateful to the Goodwin family for the vision and support to make Break Through Cancer a reality,” Draetta says. “This spirit of collaboration is at the heart of MD Anderson’s research strategy and has been key to our success.”
Looking to the future, Draetta notes, “We are confident that Break Through Cancer will allow us to build upon that strategy by working closely with talented scientists across the country.”