Walther Cancer Foundation commits $11 million to expand research

Walther Cancer Foundation commits $11 million to expand research

The Indianapolis-based Walther Cancer Foundation has announced an $11 million investment aimed at advancing cancer research at Indiana University and Purdue University.

The gift will establish the Walther Cancer Foundation Bioinformatics Fund in support of bioinformatics personnel, technology, and tools at Purdue's Center for Cancer Research and the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center. Bioinformatics involves the analysis and translation of the massive amounts of data generated by scientific research into knowledge with the potential to lead to new cancer treatments.

The gift from the foundation, which previously had supported cancer bioinformatics work at the two universities on a year-to-year basis, will ensure the work continues in perpetuity.

"The genetic, biochemical, cellular, and immune pathways that can lead to cancer are extraordinarily complex and intertwined," said Kelvin Lee, who directs the new center and is the H.H. Gregg Professor of Oncology at IU. "Recent cutting-edge advances in technology means that researchers now have unprecedented amounts of data on these pathways, but this seriously challenges our ability to analyze these huge mounds of information to make sense of what is actually going on....We are fortunate that the Walther Cancer Foundation understands that breakthroughs require the expertise and the tools, like artificial intelligence, to help us analyze all this data so we can understand what's really important."

"We hope this gift enables scientists at IU and Purdue to dig more deeply and refine their studies so they can point out new pathways to good patient outcomes in cancer," said the foundation's president and CEO, Tom Grein. "Sometimes you have so much data, it's hard to comprehend where it's leading you. I hope the data-driven analysis will uncover nuggets of opportunity that would otherwise never be seen."

(Photo credit: Center for Cancer Research)