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$25.5 Million Abramson Family Gift for Future of Lifesaving Cancer Research at Penn Medicine
May 25, 2010, Volume 56, No. 34



A special event was held on May 10 to honor a new, $25.5 million gift from Madlyn and Leonard Abramson, and to celebrate five decades of progress in cancer research and treatment at Penn Medicine, and highlight the promise of future work to conquer the disease. To illustrate the tremendous achievements that are turning cancer patients into survivors every day, the event included presentations from the physicians who treat cancer using the latest targeted drug therapies, precision radiation technology and minimally invasive surgical techniques.

The new gift brings the Abramson family’s total philanthropic support of Penn Medicine—which previously led to the naming of the Abramson Cancer Center and the establishment of the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute—to $125 million. They are the largest donors to Penn Medicine.

Their new gift will support continued basic science and translational research progress in the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute, which is among the nation’s preeminent incubators for drug discovery and development of new ways to diagnose patients and pair them with treatments that will be most effective. In the 12 years since the establishment of the Institute, the Abramson family’s generous gift has led to:

• Recruitment of 20 of the world’s best scientists to Penn Medicine’s faculty.

• Establishment of new research programs in cancer cell metabolism, cancer vaccines, cell-based immunotherapy, and the study of the DNA repair system involved in breast cancer and lymphoma.

• Genome-wide studies that have yielded new therapeutic targets for brain and kidney cancers.

• Blood and imaging tests to more easily diagnose cancers including leukemia and the deadly brain cancer glioblastoma.

• Enrollment of hundreds of patients in trials testing therapeutic vaccines for lymphoma, prostate and breast cancers, and new targeted drug therapies for melanoma.

“The advances in cancer research developed at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center have led to new prevention, diagnosis, and treatment programs that are awe-inspiring,” said Dr. Arthur H. Rubenstein, Executive Vice President of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and Dean of the School of Medicine. “By fostering the spirit of scientific inquiry, the Abramsons have enabled the most talented minds in the country to engage in the most advanced basic and translational research right here in Philadelphia.”

During Alumni Weekend, at the School of Medicine’s Dean’s Dinner, the Abramsons were awarded the inaugural two dean’s medals, recognizing their distinguished service to Penn Medicine.


Almanac - May 25, 2010, Volume 56, No. 34