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University of Pittsburgh Receives Two $1 Million Gifts for Endowed Chairs from The Pittsburgh Foundation

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 6, 2012The Pittsburgh Foundation has awarded two $1 million gifts to the University of Pittsburgh to establish two endowed chairs supporting groundbreaking cancer research and personalized medicine. The Pittsburgh Foundation Endowed Chair in Innovative Cancer Research and The Pittsburgh Foundation Endowed Chair in Personalized Medicine are significant gifts that reflect an important, long-standing partnership between the Foundation and the University of Pittsburgh. The chairs will serve as cornerstones in high-profile, priority areas of research.
“The Board at The Pittsburgh Foundation determined that the University of Pittsburgh is uniquely positioned to nurture research excellence in a highly collaborative environment. In partnership with UPMC, the university is poised to advance discoveries in cancer and personalized medicine, making a strong impact on our community,” said Grant Oliphant, president and chief executive officer of The Pittsburgh Foundation. “The establishment of the endowed chairs will enhance health care delivery for patients throughout our region and beyond.”
The Pittsburgh Foundation Chair in Innovative Cancer Research will support advances at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI). UPCI’s pioneering research has led to a deeper understanding of the basic biology of cancer and to remarkable progress in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the disease. “Thoughtful investments in priority programs like cancer prevention and control, cancer and aging, women’s cancer and translational research are the underpinnings of this plan. Investments in good science like this one are investments in good medicine, helping us attract and retain the best investigators and accelerate our agenda for cancer research in Pittsburgh,” said Nancy Davidson, M.D., director of UPCI and UPMC CancerCenter.
The Pittsburgh Foundation Chair in Personalized Medicine builds on the scientific belief that the variations in our genetic blueprint help to answer important questions about susceptibility to disease and an individual’s projected response to specific therapy. “With personalized medicine, we aim to move the ‘one-size-fits-all’ model of medicine to a tailored, ‘right-sized’ model – delivering the right therapy to the right person at the right time,” said Steven Shapiro, M.D., executive vice president and chief medical and scientific officer of UPMC. “Seventy five percent of health care costs today are associated with chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes. If advances in personalized medicine allow physicians to prevent or better treat these diseases based on a patient’s genomic profile, the potential savings in human and financial terms could be very significant.”
UPCI has launched a broad-based community effort to match the $1 million gift given by The Pittsburgh Foundation for the Endowed Chair in Innovative Cancer Research through additional funds from individuals. UPMC will match the $1 million gift for The Pittsburgh Foundation Chair in Personalized Medicine.
In recognition of The Pittsburgh Foundation’s generosity, a private reception will be held on Thursday, Sept. 6 from 11:30 to 12:30 p.m. in the Herberman Conference Center, UPMC Shadyside, 5230 Centre Ave. Clyde B. Jones III, president of the Medical and Health Sciences Foundation and chief development officer of UPMC, will serve as the master of ceremonies. Speakers will include Grant Oliphant, Dr. Nancy Davidson, and Dr. Steven Shapiro. This event is open to members of the media.

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