Dear MSK Community,
Breakthrough cancer discovery can start anywhere: a patient with a unique case, a researcher with a hunch, or an unexpected result that connects seemingly disparate findings. An investigation into a new treatment can begin with the patient, move to the lab, and circulate back and forth from the bench to the bedside.
This modern approach to research improves on the traditional process, which generally has been one-directional and categorized into three distinct phases: basic — to understand the behavior of cells, translational — to apply that knowledge to create new drugs for patients, and clinical — to test therapies in patients.
This issue of MSK News focuses on the growing importance of that middle phase, translational research, powered by new technologies and our increasing knowledge about how cancer develops and spreads. Thanks to a generous gift from Fiona and Stanley Druckenmiller, MSK will be able to advance the most brilliant ideas into early-stage translational research — the kind of investigations that will drive a revolution in our understanding of cancer as a disease and improve our ability to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer.
The Fiona and Stanley Druckenmiller Presidential Innovation Fund will provide a mechanism for scientists, physicians, and nurses to apply for funding for novel translational projects. In funding projects, emphasis will be given to non-incremental ideas and multidisciplinary approaches.
MSK has investigated this approach on a more modest scale over the past few years, and found it helps accelerate transformational technologies, including the development of CAR T cell therapy, tools to address and act on patient-reported outcomes, and theranostics.
The Fiona and Stanley Druckenmiller Presidential Innovation Fund is just the beginning. It will rapidly seed the most creative and promising projects in translational cancer medicine that might otherwise not be funded. It will ensure that the most brilliant people in translational cancer research have the resources they need to make the biggest impact. As science progresses and unexpected discoveries are made over the next decade, the Fiona and Stanley Druckenmiller Presidential Innovation Fund will respond quickly to evolving research needs in real time, allowing MSK to stay at the forefront of the field.
Craig B. Thompson
President and Chief Executive Officer
Support the essential and compassionate work of our doctors, nurses, researchers, and staff. Your gift will empower MSK to ensure that people with cancer have access to world-class care and research.