The Starr Foundation, a philanthropic organization that supports education, medicine and healthcare, as well as cultural institutions, human needs, public policy and the environment, announced today that it has made a $100 million grant to create a wide-ranging cancer consortium to coordinate the efforts of five internationally renowned research institutions including The Rockefeller University.
The five institutions, which in addition to Rockefeller include The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Weill Cornell Medical College, will collaborate on research aimed at understanding cancer at its most fundamental levels and at developing new approaches to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the many forms of the disease that together constitute one of the greatest threats to human health.
The program, to be known as the Starr Cancer Consortium, will provide an innovative framework for research that brings together world-class biomedical investigators with a critical mass of technology. It will build on the complementary strengths of the five institutions, including one-of-a-kind experience in applying the power of genomics to biomedical problems, a proven expertise in the study of cancer genetics in humans and animals, and a strong clinical operation and vast collection of cancer specimens that offer a crucial resource for studying cancer in humans.
“The opening years of the 21st century have brought dramatic advances in understanding cancer and in putting new discoveries to work for the people who need it most,” says Maurice R. Greenberg, chairman of the Starr Foundation. “Our goal in launching the Starr Cancer Consortium is to bring these exceptional institutions together in a manner that assures maximum efficiency and the greatest firepower in targeting cancer. This will enable us to achieve tangible results more quickly and decisively than any one or two members of the consortium could accomplish working alone.”
The Starr Foundation, with assets today of approximately $3.5 billion, has donated in excess of $2 billion — more than $1 billion in New York City alone — making it one of the largest private foundations in the United States.
The Starr Foundation grant of $100 million will be earmarked specifically for joint projects involving two or more of the five institutions, including several highly promising initiatives already under way. Key areas of focus for the Starr Cancer Consortium will include the creation or accelerated development of powerful technology platforms designed to unravel the genetic and molecular basis of cancers; the application of these technologies in joint projects aimed at developing new and highly effective approaches to diagnosis and treatment; and support for basic biological research to provide insights into the fundamental molecular and cellular processes underlying cancer.
Activities selected for funding through the Starr Cancer Consortium will be determined by an executive committee including leaders of the five institutions.