The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has announced a $50 million pledge from Dallas businesswoman Lyda Hill in support of its Moon Shots program, a comprehensive effort to dramatically reduce cancer deaths.
The program will involve six teams of MD Anderson researchers and clinicians working on eight different cancers — acute myeloid leukemia (AML)/myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), chronic lymphocytic leukemia, melanoma, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and triple-negative breast and high-grade serous ovarian cancers. It is hoped that knowledge gained from the $3 billion effort, which will receive additional funding from private philanthropy, institutional earnings, competitive research grants, and the commercialization of new discoveries, eventually will be applied to all cancers.
The gift from Hill will provide support for a variety of high-priority projects, including the lung cancer team's efforts to develop more reliable low-cost screenings that can be made available in community clinics, and the breast/ovarian cancer team's integrated program to screen patients for BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations and prescribe new personalized therapies. The gift also will be used to support "moon shot" platforms that provide infrastructure, systems, and strategy in a variety of areas, including cancer prevention and control, data analytics, and research genomics.
In recognition of Hill's generosity, the institution will be named the Lyda Hill Cancer Prevention Center.
"We're astounded by Lyda Hill's incredible generosity and humbled by her commitment to cancer patients and their families through this truly transformative gift," said MD Anderson president Ronald DePinho. "Its broad application across the cancer care continuum of prevention, detection, treatment, and survivorship will play a significant role in the success of the entire Moon Shots program, especially in the areas of early detection, risk assessment, and the development of more effective treatments for multiple cancer types."