Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Announces Visionary Gift From the Commonwealth Foundation for Cancer Research


Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) today announced a transformative gift from the Commonwealth Foundation for Cancer Research to benefit the Center for Experimental Therapeutics, a multidisciplinary research and drug development group at MSK. With this gift, the Commonwealth Foundation for Cancer Research continues their nearly three-decade commitment to the Center for Experimental Therapeutics, which was initially founded in 2002 with a generous gift from the Foundation.

Since its founding, the Center for Experimental Therapeutics has become a powerhouse of cancer drug development with the goal of promoting research into promising new therapies and speeding the translation of discoveries from the laboratory to the bedside. In this multidisciplinary research environment, scientists in the center have developed six novel treatments from the lab stage, which ultimately achieved regulatory approval, and 70 new technologies, which were later licensed to biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies. The center has been integral in the advancement of revolutionary treatment approaches, including chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy, which is approved to treat blood cancers and is being tested for many other types of cancer, and checkpoint inhibitors, the immunotherapy drugs that have dramatically improved outcomes for some people with solid tumors such as melanoma. It has also participated in the clinical research that has led to the first drug to target KRAS, a gene that is commonly mutated in lung, pancreatic, colon, and other difficult-to-treat cancers.

“The Commonwealth Foundation for Cancer Research has been our valued collaborator since day one, and their enduring commitment is at the heart of extraordinary advances that have significantly improved the lives of people with cancer,” said David A. Scheinberg, MD, PhD, Chairman of the Center for Experimental Therapeutics; Deputy Director for Therapeutic Discovery, Sloan Kettering Institute; Break Through Cancer Board Member; and Vincent Astor Chair. “We are profoundly grateful to the Foundation for their continued support that will allow us to enhance drug development and discovery activities at MSK.”

The Foundation’s pledge will support the Center for Experimental Therapeutics’ accelerated drug discovery program, which funds laboratory and preclinical investigations and clinical trials for new agents. The center has numerous drug candidates in preclinical testing and many in various stages of clinical trials, with a particular emphasis on finding treatments for some of the most resistant cancer types, including pancreatic, brain, and ovarian cancers.

The center’s work complements MSK’s participation in Break Through Cancer, a first-of-its-kind multi-institutional initiative founded by the Commonwealth Foundation for Cancer Research in 2021. Break Through Cancer unites five of the top cancer research centers in the world in a collaborative quest to find cures for several of the deadliest cancers. These cancers all share common features — low five-year survival rates, little to no effective early detection, and a lack of recent progress or innovation in treatment.

“We are grateful to the Commonwealth Foundation for Cancer Research for their continued generosity that has enhanced our ability to pursue drug development and has led to numerous scientific innovations in cancer research, both at MSK and through the collaborative effort of Break Through Cancer,” said Lisa M. DeAngelis, MD, MSK’s Chief Physician Executive, Scott M. and Lisa G. Stuart Chair, and Break Through Cancer Board Member.

“Some of the most impactful breakthroughs in cancer research have been developed by the passionate scientists in the Center for Experimental Therapeutics, and we believe the most important breakthroughs are still ahead,” said William H. Goodwin Jr., President of the Commonwealth Foundation for Cancer Research. “We are proud to support MSK, which has a remarkable track record of tackling the biggest challenges in cancer research and treatment, and we are hopeful for a future of even greater achievements.”

Annik Allen
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