The Prostate Cancer Foundation has announced a $2.5 million gift from Robert F. Smith, the founder, chair, and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, in support of research focused on African-American men and to launch a precision oncology center in Chicago.
The gift will enable PCF to accelerate the efforts of clinical investigators working to solve some of the most lethal forms of prostate cancer while advancing the quality of health care for African-American men, who are 73 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer than men of any other race or ethnicity and twice as likely to die. To that end, PCF will fund the work of precision medicine teams at leading Veterans Administration centers and universities across the country, with priority given to studies with the highest potential to maximize the benefits for veterans — especially African Americans — in the near term.
In addition, the gift will create the Robert Frederick Smith Center of Precision Oncology Excellence to aid veterans in the New York metro area who are battling prostate cancer. The Smith Center will serve as a precision oncology hub in PCF's network of centers working to fulfill the mission of improving the care of U.S. veterans with prostate cancer, which is the number-one cancer diagnosed in veterans.
"We are profoundly grateful to Robert F. Smith for his incredible generosity and his leadership," said PCF president and CEO Jonathan W. Simons. "The Smith Center of Excellence represents a new model of American philanthropy and will pave the way for groundbreaking discoveries that will have a transformative impact on our research enterprise and its role in improving health equity for veterans and their families. These survival disparities represent a real crisis, and this gift — so timely in the spirit of honoring the legacy of Dr. King — has the power to save lives."