David M. Rubenstein Gives $10 Million to Launch Pancreatic Cancer Research Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering


A new pancreatic cancer research center has been created at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC).  The ambitious initiative was established with an initial commitment of $10 million from MSKCC Board member David M. Rubenstein. The new program, called the David M. Rubenstein Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research, will bring together Memorial Sloan Kettering’s outstanding physicians and an expanding group of scientists in an intensive program designed to spearhead crucial progress in understanding and treating one of the deadliest forms of cancer.

Mr. Rubenstein is the Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer of The Carlyle Group, a global alternative asset manager.

“The gift could not come at a more critical time,” said Craig B. Thompson, MD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center President, who notes that pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of death by cancer in the United States—and that, because it is highly complex, the disease has been relatively understudied compared to other forms of cancer.  “Now, thanks to David’s magnificent generosity and vision, we are superbly positioned to build on our proven clinical pancreatic cancer expertise to create a comprehensive research and training program that will drive future advances in therapy.”

The David M. Rubenstein Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research will support activities on every front in the fight against the disease.  In addition to providing funds for a senior investigator to direct the program along with a full slate of educational initiatives—including postgraduate fellowships for future leaders in the field—it will sponsor competitive research grants to encourage creative collaborations at Memorial Sloan Kettering.  These grants will underwrite translational studies that can provide the proof-of-concept for clinical trials of promising new therapies, in parallel with research that will lead to improved methods of prevention, screening, early detection, and risk assessment in pancreatic cancer.

Douglas A. Warner III, Chairman of the Boards of Overseers and Managers, said, “All of us on the Board are deeply grateful to David for the dramatic impact his commitment will have—on this institution and, above all, on people around the world whose lives will be made better by the work undertaken here.  Memorial Sloan Kettering takes great pride in its partnership with David, and we are proud to know that his name will be linked so prominently with the advances made possible through his generosity.”

A member of MSKCC’s Boards of Overseers and Managers since 2005, Mr. Rubenstein also serves as Chairman of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, a Regent of the Smithsonian Institution, and President of the Economic Club of Washington. He is Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Duke University, Vice Chair of the Brookings Institution and Vice Chair of the Council on Foreign Relations.

“Having known David for many years, I value him not only as a thoughtful friend, but as someone who time and time again has demonstrated a broad commitment to making a real difference in everything he does,” said Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., Vice-Chairman of the MSKCC Boards. “It comes as no surprise that he has chosen to focus his energy and support on confronting the daunting challenges posed by pancreatic cancer, which is such a devastating disease.”

According to the American Cancer Society, 44,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the United States in 2012, and more than 37,000 will die.

“I have been deeply impressed by the leadership Memorial Sloan Kettering has shown in its programs devoted to treating pancreatic cancer,” said Mr. Rubenstein.  “And I am convinced that bringing clinicians, researchers, fellows, and other staff together in a comprehensive, highly unified effort offers the best hope for reducing the enormous toll that this terrible disease takes in terms of human life and suffering.”