More than $650,000 raised at 11th annual luncheon
HOUSTON ― The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center’s signature A Conversation With a Living Legend® event brought together more than 300 people Friday to honor Nobel laureate James P. Allison, Ph.D., vice president of Immunobiology and chair of Immunology at MD Anderson, and to learn more about the future of cancer research in the field of immunobiology. The event raised more than $650,000.
Led by event chairs Malú and Carlos Alvarez, the program benefitted the James P. Allison Institute, a visionary research and innovation hub created to conduct groundbreaking science that integrates immunobiology across all disciplines and unlocks the full potential of science and medicine for human health. With exceptional discovery, translational and clinical research, the Allison Institute will rapidly advance breakthroughs into novel and synergetic therapies that enable cures.
“Immunotherapy has truly transformed care for many patients with cancer, with dramatic responses,” said Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson. “However, not all patients can benefit from it yet. The goal of the Allison Institute is to change that. And what an honor it is, not only to see such dedicated support from San Antonio in this effort, but to recognize such a visionary leader in this field, the institute’s namesake, Dr. Allison.”
San Antonio Connections and Conversation
The luncheon kicked off at the Marriott Rivercenter with remarks from longtime San Antonio journalist Robert Rivard, formerly of the San Antonio Report. The program also included remarks from San Antonio native Marsha Shields, a senior member of the MD Anderson Board of Visitors.
Eric Benson, writer-at-large at Texas Monthly, sat down with Allison to discuss the scientist’s accomplishments in the field and his connections to South Texas. Benson’s 2016 cover story on Allison, “The Iconoclast,” won best profile at the City and Regional Magazine Awards.
Allison was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries that launched the field of cancer immunotherapy. His fundamental research provided new insights into T cell biology and led to his invention of ipilimumab, a monoclonal antibody medication. Allison serves as director of the Allison Institute and is vice president of Immunobiology and regental chair of Immunology at MD Anderson.
Making Cancer History®
Since the event first began in Alamo City, San Antonio-area business and community leaders have dedicated countless hours to A Conversation With a Living Legend®, raising more than $4.5 million to date for lifesaving patient programs, unique treatments and novel research at MD Anderson. The signature format has been used across the country in cities such as Houston, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas and Atlanta.
Title sponsors are Malú and Carlos Alvarez; the Bellinger Foundation; Jimmie Ruth and Dick Evans/Frost Bank/Kelley and Pat Frost/Nancy Loeffler; and Lewis Energy Group. Presenting sponsors include the Dreeben Family; the Mays Family Foundation; Red McCombs Automotive; and Scott Petty Family Foundation. Other major supporters include the following donors at various levels of support:
- Claire and John Alexander
- Lois Chiles
- Silver Eagle Beverages/John L. Nau III
- Worth & Associates/Mary Worth’s Family
- Tom and Diane Gates
- Howard M. Meyers
- Pape-Dawson Engineers, Inc.
- Sally and Rhew Dooley
- Edwina and Tom Johnson
- Regina Rogers in loving memory of Julie and Ben Rogers
- UT Health San Antonio
- Suzanne and Dick Wade
South Texas Native
- Phyllis and James Browning
- Judy Dalrymple
- Ashley and Foster Sinclair
- Weisie and John T. Steen, Jr.
- Lorrie and Arthur Uhl
Funds to support recruitment of leading scientists to advance exceptional research
HOUSTON ― The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center today announced that the Timken Foundation of Canton, Ohio, has made a $5 million commitment to support the James P. Allison Institute at MD Anderson. The gift will support the recruitment of top minds from around the world to help realize the Allison Institute’s goals. By establishing a diverse and inclusive environment of scientists from many fields, the Allison Institute will drive exceptional research that integrates immunobiology across disciplines to develop a comprehensive understanding of the immune system.
“The Timken Foundation has supported research efforts at
MD Anderson dating back to the 1990s. We recognized this opportunity to play an early role in the Allison Institute at our country’s premier institution for cancer care and research,” said Robert Timken, president of the Foundation. “The goal is to advance science and end cancer. We are honored to support the Allison Institute in recruiting world-class experts and the next generation of trailblazers in immunotherapy.”
The Allison Institute is a visionary research and innovation hub created to unlock the full potential of science and medicine for human health. By integrating discovery, translational and clinical research, the Allison Institute will rapidly advance breakthroughs into novel and synergetic therapies that enable cures. The institute builds upon the legacy and foundational discoveries of James P. Allison, Ph.D., who was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on T cell biology and the invention of ipilimumab, the first immune checkpoint inhibitor to treat cancer.
“We are truly grateful for the support of the Timken Foundation as we continue in our pursuit to conduct the best science possible and to bring cures to more patients,” said Allison, director of the Allison Institute and regental chair of Immunology at MD Anderson. “Thanks to the generous support of benefactors like the Timken Foundation, we are attracting world-renowned scientists to transform how we conduct impactful research and help us realize the promise of immune-based treatments for all patients.”
Commitment to Making Cancer History® spans decades
In addition to the Timken Foundation’s generous contributions over four decades, Sue Timken has served on the Board of Visitors at MD Anderson Cancer Center for two decades. She was joined by her husband Ambassador W.R. “Tim” Timken, Jr., as co-chairs of “41@80,” a monumental philanthropic celebration in honor of former President George H.W. Bush’s 80th birthday. The event raised more than $55 million for three organizations, including MD Anderson, resulting in over $26 million in donor-directed funds coming back to the institution.
“Generational giving such as that demonstrated by the Timken Foundation has played a critical role in MD Anderson’s past and will continue to play a pivotal rule in the next era of cancer care and research,” said Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson. “Not only will the Timken Foundation inspire others across the country to join our mission, but their generosity will also motivate future generations and impact the lives of cancer patients and their families in the years to come.”