The Boston-based Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has announced a $5 million gift from Winston Chen and his wife, Phyllis Huang, in support of lung cancer research.
The gift will establish the Chen-Huang Center for EGFR (Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor) Mutant Lung Cancers and help advance the integration of preclinical, translational, and clinical lung cancer research and care at Dana-Farber. Among other things, the new center will work to develop novel clinical trials for patients with EGFR mutant lung cancers, translational studies of EGFR mutant lung cancers aimed at refining therapeutic approaches for patients, discovery studies focused on generating research models, and education, training, and knowledge exchange opportunities for clinicians, researchers, and trainees from the United States and around the world.
According to Dana-Farber, lung cancer remains the most common cause of cancer-related death for both men and women in the U.S., and EGFR mutations are found in 15 percent of patients in the U.S. and European Union and 50 percent of patients in Asia. In 2004, Pasi Jänne and other investigators at Dana-Farber discovered that a subset of lung cancers exhibited mutations in the EGFR gene — mutations that were predictive of the clinical efficacy of EGFR kinase inhibitors, catalyzing the field of precision medicine for lung cancer patients. Dana-Farber was the first cancer center in the U.S. to begin routine clinical testing for EGFR mutations, which today is the standard of care worldwide, and EGFR inhibitors are now used as the initial systemic therapy (instead of chemotherapy) for newly diagnosed patients with advanced EGFR mutant lung cancers.
The gift also will create the Chen-Huang EGFR Mutant Lung Cancers Endowed Fund, the Chen-Huang EGFR Mutant Lung Cancers Fund, and the Chen-Huang EGFR Mutant Lung Cancers Endowed Lecture and provide support for various capital projects and strategic initiatives.
"Even with significant advances forged by physician-scientists at Dana-Farber and elsewhere, new and novel treatment approaches for patients with EGFR mutant lung cancers are needed," said Jänne. "This gift will help us continue to be a leader in cancer care and research."
"Phyllis and I hope our gift will bring much needed attention to lung cancer and illustrate how vital financial support is for making discoveries," said Chen, the retired chair of electronics manufacturer Solectron and board chair of the Paramitas Foundation, his and Huang's family foundation. "We support Dr. Jänne and Dana-Farber because of their impressive centers, research facilities, and the discoveries they are making every day."
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