Thursday, October 9, 2008
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has announced the gift of a membership interest in Geoffrey Beene, LLC, the company that controls the business and fashion empire created by legendary designer Geoffrey Beene. Revenues generated by Memorial Sloan Kettering’s share in the company will be used exclusively to support the Geoffrey Beene Cancer Research Center, an ambitious research initiative established two years ago at Memorial Sloan Kettering with funds from the Estate of Geoffrey Beene.
The new contribution brings the total value of gifts from the various Beene entities to Memorial Sloan Kettering to $101.9 million. Geoffrey Beene, LLC and the Geoffrey Beene Foundation are headed by G. Thompson Hutton, who has orchestrated the activities aimed at realizing the late designer’s goal of providing support to make meaningful progress against cancer.
“The Geoffrey Beene Cancer Research Center has helped galvanize our efforts to gain new insights into cancer and to apply that knowledge to the development of more effective strategies for patient care,” said Harold Varmus, President of MSKCC. “We are especially grateful to Tom Hutton and his colleagues at Geoffrey Beene, LLC, for recognizing the significance of the work being done here and for making this extraordinary new investment to help move it forward.”
“It is impossible to spend any time with Dr. Varmus and his colleagues at Memorial Sloan Kettering and not be impressed by their dedication to solving the complex problems posed by cancer,” said Mr. Hutton, President and CEO of Geoffrey Beene, LLC and Trustee of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation. “I am delighted that Geoffrey Beene, who was an icon in the fashion world and cared deeply for the well-being of others, should have his legacy so closely aligned with the Geoffrey Beene Cancer Research Center.”
Since its creation in the fall of 2006, the Geoffrey Beene Cancer Research Center has served as the focal point for an array of activities designed to translate the revolutionary advances researchers have made in understanding how cancer works at the cellular level into new approaches to preventing, diagnosing, and treating the disease. It brings together researchers and physicians from two complementary areas: the Sloan Kettering Institute’s Cancer Biology and Genetics Program, which studies the genetic and biochemical events that trigger the transformation of normal cells into cancerous ones, and the Memorial Hospital-based Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program, which pursues new insights into the molecular mechanisms of cancer from the perspective of clinical oncology.
Memorial Sloan Kettering will use the funds made available by its stake in Geoffrey Beene, LLC, to expand support for the programs and activities of the Geoffrey Beene Center. These include new research initiatives that span the entire range of translational research, funding for core research labs, and the establishment of senior and junior faculty chairs, graduate fellowships, and the Geoffrey Beene Symposium.
“The sense of urgency and personal commitment that Geoffrey Beene brought to the fight against cancer is one that we at Memorial Sloan Kettering most definitely share,” said Douglas A. Warner III, Chairman of MSKCC’s Boards of Overseers and Managers. “Work undertaken through the Geoffrey Beene Cancer Research Center is already having an impact, and I look forward to the next stage in this important partnership.”
Mr. Beene was a native of Haynesville, Louisiana, who studied medicine at Tulane University before embarking on the career that garnered him international distinction as one of the top fashion designers of the past half-century. He died in 2004 at age 80 of complications from cancer, and it was his wish that his Estate should provide direct support for cancer research.
Activities of the Geoffrey Beene Cancer Research Center are overseen by an executive committee that includes Dr. Varmus as chairman and Sloan Kettering Institute Director Thomas J. Kelly and Memorial Hospital Physician-in-Chief Robert E. Wittes as members. For more information, go to www.geoffreybeene.com.