$250 million gift launches cancer research foundation

$250 million gift launches cancer research foundation

Five leading cancer research institutes have announced a pledge of $250 million from William H. Goodwin, Jr., his wife, Alice, and their family and the estate of William Hunter Goodwin III in support of a new public charity focused on developing solutions to the most intractable challenges in cancer.

The organization, Break Through Cancer, will fund collaborative, multidisciplinary research by teams from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, with an initial focus on pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, glioblastoma, acute myelogenous leukemia, and other highly challenging cancers. To be led by Tyler Jacks, the David H. Koch Professor of Biology and director of the Koch Institute, the organization will be supported by a board that includes leaders from each of the collaborating institutions. Jacks told the Cancer Letter that he expects the organization will raise another $250 million for the effort from philanthropy and pharmaceutical companies and will eventually expand to include other research institutes.

"The deliberative approach of focusing research on highly challenging cancers will help make rapid progress where it is desperately needed," said Dana-Farber Cancer Institute president and CEO Laurie H. Glimcher. "We are honored and excited to join some of the leading cancer centers and scientists in the world to advance this important research. All of this is made possible through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. William H. Goodwin, Jr. and their family, and the estate of William Hunter Goodwin III, whose gift represents one of the largest gifts in cancer research, and deeply inspires us as we go forward."

"We realize there are no guarantees, yet we believe this effort to fight cancer, particularly with collaborative research, has a realistic probability of success," said Goodwin, the retired chair and president of Riverstone Group, whose son, William Hunter III, passed away in 2020 after a sixteen-month battle with cancer. "We want to help people have better lives. And we sincerely hope that by being public with our support, we will inspire others to support this incredible effort."