5 US cancer centers launch major research initiative: 6 things to know

A new research foundation, Break Through Cancer, will combine research teams from five of the country's leading cancer centers to develop new treatments, advance clinical trials and improve patient outcomes, the organization announced Feb. 25. 

Break Through Cancer's participating institutions are Boston-based Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, New York City-based Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT in Cambridge, Mass., Baltimore-based Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. 

Five more details: 

1. The foundation will select multidisciplinary teams from the participating institutions and fund collaborative cancer research programs. The foundation expects to begin awarding project grants within the next few months, officials said during a Feb. 25 news conference.

2. Efforts will initially focus on the following cancers: pancreatic, ovarian, glioblastoma and acute myelogenous leukemia


3. Tyler Jacks, PhD, will serve as Break Through Cancer's president. He is the founding director of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT. 


4. The foundation was launched through a $250 million challenge pledge from Mr. and Mrs. William H. Goodwin Jr., their family and the estate of William Hunter Goodwin III, who died of cancer last year.


5. The foundation expects to include additional participating members in the future, such as biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.


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