Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City has announced an initial commitment of $10 million from board member David M. Rubenstein to establish a pancreatic cancer research unit.
To be named the David M. Rubenstein Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research, the center will bring together Memorial Sloan-Kettering physicians and an expanding group of scientists in an intensive effort to increase the understanding and treatment of one of the deadliest types of cancer. Among other things, the grant from Rubenstein will provide funding for a senior investigator to direct the program; educational initiatives, including postgraduate fellowships for future leaders in the field; and translational studies that provide proof-of-concept for promising new therapies, in parallel with research that leads to improved methods of prevention, screening, early detection, and risk assessment.
According to the American Cancer Society, forty-four thousand people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the United States in 2012, and more than thirty-seven thousand will die.
"The gift could not come at a more critical time," said Memorial Sloan-Kettering president Craig B. Thompson, who noted that pancreatic cancer has been relatively understudied compared with other forms of cancer. "Now, thanks to David's magnificent generosity and vision, we are superbly positioned to build on our proven clinical pancreatic cancer expertise to create a comprehensive research and training program that will drive future advances in therapy."
"I have been deeply impressed by the leadership Memorial Sloan-Kettering has shown in its programs devoted to treating pancreatic cancer," said Rubenstein, co-founder and co-CEO of the Carlyle Group. "And I am convinced that bringing clinicians, researchers, fellows, and other staff together in a comprehensive, highly unified effort offers the best hope for reducing the enormous toll that this terrible disease takes in terms of human life and suffering."