PITTSBURGH, June 20, 2005 — Judge Marjorie O. Rendell, First Lady of Pennsylvania, today joined Mr. and Mrs. Henry L. Hillman and leaders at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), University of Pittsburgh and University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) to announce a $20 million gift from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation and the Hillman Foundation to UPCI and UPMC Cancer Centers. The gift is designated to create The Hillman Fellows Program for Innovative Cancer Research and is launching a major initiative to raise $200 million for the cancer institute’s burgeoning cancer program to recruit new investigators, invest in new facilities and create scientific and economic advantages for the region and the state.
“This new initiative will ensure that Pennsylvania remains a national leader in cancer research and care. Additionally, it will provide renewed hope to the estimated 72,000 Pennsylvanians who will be newly diagnosed by the end of this year,” said Judge Rendell.
Jeffrey A. Romoff, president of UPMC, commented, “Today, we take another major step forward to generate the knowledge and resources that will allow us to alleviate the human suffering caused by cancer. We at UPMC express our sincerest gratitude to the Hillmans for their support of our vision – we are confident that this initiative will lead to increased scientific prominence for our region and beyond.”
Mark A. Nordenberg, chancellor, University of Pittsburgh, concurred and praised the Hillmans for “helping to build a world without cancer.” Nordenberg went on to say that the support of promising young cancer researchers will further the University’s tradition of unlocking the secrets that help conquer the world’s most devastating diseases.
“I am delighted to be here today to announce our continued support of the remarkable work of this center,” said Mr. Hillman. “In its relatively short history, UPCI has become one of the country’s most important contributors to basic, translational and clinical cancer research. This initiative will provide new opportunities for Pittsburgh researchers to translate laboratory findings into effective prevention and treatment approaches for cancer patients, helping us to transform cancer from a deadly disease into one that can be managed and ultimately defeated.”
“Cancer affects people from every walk of life and truly touches us all,” added Mrs. Hillman. “With continued compassion and determination, however, I have no doubt that we will reach our goal of achieving a future without cancer.”
The Hillman Fellows Program is designated to provide “seed” money or venture capital for scientists, stimulating new collaborations and supporting novel ideas from junior and senior investigators. These investments, in turn, can be parlayed into more substantial funding from external sources such as the National Cancer Institute in targeted areas of research to help find new and innovative methods to prevent and treat cancer.
The gift is part of an overall five-year plan to expand the Hillman Cancer Center’s research laboratories and facilities, recruit world-class clinicians and scientists, broaden clinical research studies as well as community outreach and education, and increase the development of research endowments. A major capital campaign to support the overall program is in the early phases.
“I know that everyone here today joins me in thanking Mr. and Mrs. Hillman and the Hillman foundations for making this new initiative a reality. Ultimately, our results will be measured by a single standard – improved quality of life for our communities and our families, not only in this region, but around the world,” said Ronald B. Herberman, M.D., director of UPCI and UPMC Cancer Centers.
The Hillman Cancer Center is the flagship facility for the UPMC Cancer Centers—a network of 43 office-based medical oncology practices and regional cancer centers that provides the highest standard of care for cancer patients throughout western Pennsylvania. The Hillman Cancer Center also is home to the research activities of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and includes more than 450 research faculty and staff.