Memorial Sloan Kettering Announces New Initiative to Focus on Lung Cancer Research

Dr. David R. Jones and Dr. Charles M. Rudin

Dr. David R. Jones, Chief of the Thoracic Service in the Department of Surgery, and Dr. Charles M. Rudin, Chief of the Thoracic Oncology Service

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) today announced a $20 million gift from the Ge Li & Ning Zhao Family Foundation to support lung cancer research and the development of new therapies to treat this disease. Lung cancer is responsible for 25 percent of all cancer deaths and is the leading cause of cancer deaths among men and women in the United States. While lung cancer rates are dropping, more research and treatment advances are essential.

“We are deeply grateful for this gift, which will enable MSK to continue its leadership in the treatment of lung cancer and allow us to devote even more resources to researching the disease at every stage,” said Craig B. Thompson, MD, President and CEO of MSK.

Dr. Ning Zhao and Dr. Ge Li

Dr. Ge Li and Dr. Ning Zhao
Photo courtesy of the Ge Li & Ning Zhao Family Foundation

The Ning Zhao & Ge Li Family Initiative for Lung Cancer Research and New Therapies will work toward gaining a deeper understanding of the biology of lung cancer in order to develop new targeted therapies to overcome drug resistance and to prevent metastasis. It will create three Ning Zhao & Ge Li endowed chairs at MSK and a research fund to underwrite basic, translational, and clinical research. The initiative will also support critical new research projects led by research fellows and fund essential related work in the Department of Pathology.

“Our team of lung cancer researchers and clinicians is so excited by the opportunity provided by this gift to accelerate the discovery and implementation of new lung cancer therapies,” said Charles M. Rudin, MD, PhD, Chief of MSK’s Thoracic Oncology Service and Co-Director of the Fiona and Stanley Druckenmiller Center for Lung Cancer Research, where the initiative will reside. “The exceptional generosity of the Ge Li & Ning Zhao Family Foundation will make a significant impact on what our thoracic team is able to accomplish in the years to come.”

MSK has pioneered advances in lung cancer and continues working to develop new and more durably effective treatment approaches. Recent breakthroughs include novel targeted therapies, immunotherapies, robotic bronchoscopy, and newer forms of precise radiation, such as proton therapy. Treatments have become more individualized and accurate through approaches like minimally invasive surgery, leading to optimism about the future of lung cancer treatment.

“The specialists at MSK are among the most experienced in the treatment of lung cancer in the world,” said David R. Jones, MD, Chief of the Thoracic Service in the Department of Surgery at MSK and Co-Director of the Druckenmiller Center for Lung Cancer Research. “We offer our patients the most compassionate care and advanced treatment, whether it be surgery, chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy, or radiation. This generous gift comes at a crucial time in the fight against lung cancer and will enable us to bring new treatment approaches to our patients faster.”

Ge Li, PhD, is Chairman of WuXi AppTec and WuXi Biologics, providers of research, development, and manufacturing services that enable companies and innovators in the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors worldwide. Ning Zhao, PhD, is a member of the board, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Human Resources at WuXi AppTec, and President of the Ge Li & Ning Zhao Family Foundation.

“We are excited to contribute to the significant research being done at Memorial Sloan Kettering in the field of lung cancer,” Dr. Li and Dr. Zhao shared. “Advancing cancer research is a cause we care deeply about, and it will be extremely gratifying to witness the doctors and researchers put this gift to good use. We look forward to seeing their advances and discoveries in the future.”

About Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK)

As the world’s oldest and largest private cancer center, Memorial Sloan Kettering has devoted more than 135 years to exceptional patient care, influential educational programs, and innovative research to discover more effective strategies to prevent, control and, ultimately, cure cancer. MSK is home to more than 20,000 physicians, scientists, nurses, and staff united by a relentless dedication to conquering cancer. Today, we are one of 51 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, with state-of-the-art science and technology supporting groundbreaking clinical studies, personalized treatment, and compassionate care for our patients. We also train the next generation of clinical and scientific leaders in oncology through our continually evolving educational programs, here and around the world. Year after year, we are ranked among the top two cancer hospitals in the country, consistently recognized for our expertise in adult and pediatric oncology specialties.

About the Ge Li & Ning Zhao Family Foundation

The Ge Li & Ning Zhao Family Foundation is dedicated to advancing education, scientific research, and healthcare innovations to achieve meaningful improvements in the well-being of humanity. The Family Foundation was created in 2020 through the generosity of Dr. Ge Li and Dr. Ning Zhao, who co-founded WuXi PharmaTech (now WuXi AppTec and WuXi Biologics) in 2000 to provide research, development, and manufacturing services that enable innovators to advance breakthroughs for patients worldwide. The creation of the Family Foundation was inspired by that mission. Through philanthropic efforts and collaborative partnerships, it seeks to make tangible impacts and foster transformative change to improve the lives of all.