The grant will provide continued funding for the Hillman Fellows for Innovative Cancer Research Program, which supports researchers at Pitt and the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, and efforts to accelerate high-priority research, including the linking of novel cancer genomics and immunology to personalized patient care. Launched in 2004 with a $20 million contribution from Henry and Elsie Hillman, who died in 2017 and 2015, respectively, the program provides seed funding to scientists and encourages partnerships with young researchers working to develop novel methods to improve cancer treatment, detection, and prevention.
"The fellows program has been responsible for funding research at UPMC in stem cell biology, cancer vaccines, and cellular therapies over the past ten years," said Robert L. Ferris, a past fellow who recently was named director of the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center. "We are working toward groundbreaking immunotherapy and other discoveries that can cure some cancers and developing more effective treatments for this disease. Without this critical support from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation, this life-changing work would simply not be possible."
"Having top quality research at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center was very important to Mr. and Mrs. Hillman," said David Roger, president of the Hillman Family Foundations. "They were both extraordinarily proud to be associated with the work of so many brilliant doctors and scientists who have been a part of the program."