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UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
John Kirkwood, M.D.

John Kirkwood, M.D.

Emanuela Taoili, M.D., Ph.D.

Emanuela Taoili, M.D., Ph.D.

University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

‘Bring Hope to Life’ Campaign Raises $90 Million To-Date for UPMC’s Cancer Program

Launched in 2005 with $20 Million Gift from Henry and Elsie Hillman, Campaign Approaches Half-Way Point

PITTSBURGH, November 30, 2006 — At a reception this evening at the Hillman Cancer Center, leaders from UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) will join Elsie and Henry Hillman and other key supporters to celebrate nearing the half-way point to their goal of raising $200 million for cancer research and treatment. The campaign, Bring Hope to Life: A Future Without Cancer, was announced in 2005 with a $20 million gift from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation and the Hillman Foundation to UPCI and the UPMC Cancer Centers. It is supporting the recruitment of world-class investigators, the advancement of innovative cancer research and the construction of new research facilities. The private reception will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Hillman Cancer Center’s atrium.

The campaign has raised $45 million in individual gifts with an additional $45 million commitment from UPMC, bringing the total to $90 million raised to-date. UPMC has agreed to match “dollar-for-dollar” every contribution to the campaign until they meet the $200 million goal.

“Although we have made immense strides in understanding how cancer begins and spreads throughout the body, to make a real difference in alleviating the human suffering caused by this disease, we must continue to apply our insights about cancer to early detection and prevention as well as to developing more effective treatment for advanced cancer,” said Ronald B. Herberman, M.D., director of UPCI and the UPMC Cancer Centers. “Sustained growth requires the commitment of our entire community and is enabling us to continue to make a difference locally, nationally and internationally in decreasing the burden of cancer.”

“Pittsburgh has become and continues to be a vibrant and internationally acclaimed health care, education and finance center thanks in a large part to the significant achievements made by UPMC and UPCI,” said Sy Holzer, president of PNC Bank, Pittsburgh and chairman of the UPCI Council. “UPCI is not just a Pittsburgh-area treasure and is much more than a regional asset, it is truly a national and international resource. It is within centers such as these that the battle against cancer is being fought and will ultimately be won.”

“The impact of cancer reaches far into our community and exacts an enormous toll, not only on patients themselves, but also on their caregivers, families, loved ones, co-workers, neighbors and everyone that they know,” said Elsie Hillman. “Most of us have felt the pain of this burden, but today’s announcement demonstrates that we have reason for celebration and hope. The advances happening now are bringing us closer and closer to the day when people with cancer will be able to live full and pain-free lives, and perhaps most importantly, when we can spare our children and grandchildren from cancer altogether.”

The funds raised are allowing clinical and basic investigators to translate research findings into new tools to prevent, detect, diagnose and treat cancer and helping to alleviate suffering caused by cancer.

Highlights of the campaign’s major accomplishments include:

  • A gift of $500,000 from the Fraternity and Sorority Life Office at the University of Pittsburgh to support lung cancer research into new treatments that may give patients their best chances of survival and diagnostic tools to detect the disease early.
  • $1 million from Sandra and Thomas Usher that established the Sandra and Thomas Usher Endowed Chair in Melanoma for research into new molecular and vaccine-based approaches to the disease led by internationally renowned expert, John Kirkwood, M.D.
  • $2 million from Arnold Palmer to establish the Arnold Palmer Endowed Chair in Cancer Prevention, which made possible the recruitment of Emanuela Taoili, M.D., Ph.D., an expert in cancer risk and individual susceptibility. This gift is supporting Dr. Taoili’s research to better understand how lifestyle, genetics and the environment contribute to the development of cancer.
  • More than $1million in combined contributions that facilitated the recruitment and supports the research of Thomas Conrads, Ph.D., co-director of the Clinical Proteomics Facility at UPCI. Dr. Conrads, previously with the National Cancer Institute, is using proteomics, the study of groups of proteins and their interactions within organs and tissues, to identify and more appropriately treat children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia who do not respond to standard treatment, and to identify and diagnose women with aggressive breast cancers without the need of biopsy by testing proteins in the blood.

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