Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City has announced a $44 million gift from the estate of fashion designer Geoffrey Beene that will enable Sloan-Kettering to launch an ambitious cancer research initiative.
The Geoffrey Beene Cancer Research Center will build on Sloan-Kettering's existing scientific and clinical programs with the goal of translating advances in understanding how cancer works at the cellular level into progress in controlling it. Initially, the Beene Center will support two complementary programs that together span the range of translational research: the Cancer Biology and Genetics Program at the Sloan-Kettering Institute, and the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program, based at Memorial Hospital. In the future, the Beene Center will fund a range of activities, including endowed senior and junior chairs, graduate fellowships, core research labs, lectures, and research.
The fashion designer, who died of complications from cancer in 2004 at the age of 80, wanted his estate to provide direct support for cancer research, which is "now entering a pivotal phase," according to Sloan-Kettering president Harold Varmus. "The establishment of the Geoffrey Beene Cancer Research Center could not come at a better time. This generous gift carries us closer to the day when all components of cancer care — from risk assessment to diagnosis, and from screening to treatment — will be grounded in a clear understanding of the basic biology of the disease."