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UPCI Receives Endowment From PNC Bank Foundation To Support Research In Molecular Oncology

PITTSBURGH, February 9, 2000 — The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) has received an endowment in the amount of $200,000 from the PNC Bank Foundation. This endowment will help support research in molecular oncology in the newly established PNC Molecular Oncology Laboratory, which will be located in the Hillman Cancer Center, Shadyside, slated to open in early 2002.

"PNC is proud to add its support to the Hillman Cancer Center, which we believe is an important regional asset that will greatly enhance the delivery of this critical health care in the United States and beyond," said Sy Holzer, president of PNC Bank, Pittsburgh and chairman of the UPCI Council. "We believe the Center will further the extraordinary reputation Pittsburgh has established as a national leader in medical research and technology. This endowment will contribute to what is rapidly becoming a world-class institution, and we are proud to be part of the research conducted by the many dedicated professionals of UPCI regarding the early diagnosis, prevention and treatment of cancer."

"We are pleased to accept this gift from the PNC Bank Foundation," said Ronald B. Herberman, M.D., director of UPCI, Hillman Professor of Oncology and associate vice chancellor for research, health sciences, University of Pittsburgh. "This gift will help us expand our research in the area of molecular oncology, a field that has become remarkably exciting in the past several years, as virtually all types of cancer have been shown to be caused by abnormalities in the genes of certain cells."

The Molecular and Cellular Oncology Program at UPCI program brings together a wide array of scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and researchers from the department of biological sciences from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. This multi-disciplinary group, led by Paul Robbins, Ph.D., associate professor in the department of molecular genetics and biochemistry, and Donald DeFranco, professor in the departments of biological sciences, neuroscience and pharmacology, performs extensive research on the difference in gene structure and expression between cancer and normal cells. The team also investigates how abnormalities at the genetic level result in the malfunction of cells. Such fundamental knowledge holds great promise for more sensitive and specific tests for early diagnosis of cancer, and for innovative approaches to prevent and treat the disease.

Molecular oncology will be a major research focus at the Hillman Cancer Center, which will provide optimal opportunities to translate research findings into new diagnostic tests and therapies for patients.

The PNC Bank Foundation is a partner and benefactor in support of numerous nonprofit organizations who build the economic and cultural vitality of our communities. The Foundation’s focus is the betterment of the communities where PNC Bank has a presence. Allocations are given to organizations in the areas of community development, health and human services, education, culture and arts, and civic activities. As the third largest corporate foundation in Pennsylvania, PNC Bank Foundation’s 1999 allocations totaled more than $10 million.

As the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in western Pennsylvania, UPCI is a recognized leader in providing innovative cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment; biomedical research; compassionate patient care and support; and community outreach services. UPCI investigators are world-renowned for their work in clinical and basic research on cancer.

For additional information on UPCI, please access For more information on PNC Bank, access

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