Dana-Farber Cancer Institute today launched the most ambitious fundraising campaign in its history and the largest ever hospital-based campaign in New England. Mission Possible: The Dana-Farber Campaign to Conquer Cancer seeks to raise $1 billion to accelerate the pace of cancer research, promote the translation of scientific advances into new life-saving therapies, and expand the Institute's ability to provide its signature patient- and family-centered care to more people.
"This is an unprecedented time in scientific discovery, and nowhere is this more true than in the field of cancer research and care," said Dana-Farber President Edward J. Benz Jr., MD. "Improved methods for preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer have resulted in fewer people dying from cancer today. But we need to do better, and we can. With the necessary resources, we can build on our longstanding expertise in cancer care and research and convert this new knowledge into better treatments, and, ultimately, cures for cancer."
It is estimated there will be nearly 600,000 cancer-related deaths in the United States this year and that more than 1.4 million people will be diagnosed with cancer. The rate of new cancer cases is expected to grow as the U.S. population is aging — cancer disproportionately strikes people 60 and older. Similarly, more people are surviving their cancer, or are living longer with it. The collective impact will be a greater demand for targeted treatments and expanded cancer care facilities, as well as more extensive clinical, psycho-social and support services to address short- and long-term effects of a patient's cancer care.
Recent advances have made possible the use of precise, tailored therapies to attack a growing number of cancers at the molecular level, yet personalized cancer treatments remain the exception and not the rule. Dana-Farber is poised to change this, Benz said.
Mission Possible: The Dana-Farber Campaign to Conquer Cancer seeks to provide Dana-Farber scientists with the tools to further uncover the genetic and molecular roots of cancer. Identifying the vulnerability of cancer is the starting point for developing less toxic, customized treatments. This same information also will lead to a better understanding of how to diagnose cancers at their earliest stages, when they are most treatable.
The campaign will support four critical areas: $450 million for research and care; $100 million for technology; $150 million for construction of a new state-of-the-art out-patient facility, the Center for Cancer Care; and $300 million for the Jimmy Fund and unrestricted funds, which will support the most pressing needs and promising developments at Dana-Farber.
Dana-Farber has a rich history of converting research advances into novel, life-saving treatments. From establishing the first research program in chemotherapy for children with cancer, to demonstrating that combination chemotherapy can successfully treat numerous forms of cancer, to designing and directing the clinical studies that led to the Food and Drug Administration's rapid approval of the targeted drugs Gleevec® and Sutent® for gastrointestinal sarcomas, Dana-Farber clinicians and researchers have demonstrated the promise and power of translational research.
"I have a personal and professional stake in this campaign," said Larry Lucchino, president and CEO of the Boston Red Sox and co-chair of the Mission Possible Campaign. "I was treated at Dana-Farber for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma beginning in 1985, and I began my second tier of involvement with the Institute when I became president and CEO of the Red Sox." The enduring partnership between the Boston Red Sox and Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund is one of the greatest examples of philanthropy in sports history, Lucchino commented, adding, "I am absolutely confident the Mission Possible Campaign will lead to lives being saved and families being spared from the suffering associated with this disease. Each and every one of us will benefit from the research and ideas that are directly supported by this campaign."
"Cancer is truly a social crisis," said Josh Bekenstein, co-chair with Lucchino and managing director of Bain Capital, LLC. "As more and more people are diagnosed, it is vital that we all support this critical effort and the top-notch team at Dana-Farber as they work to conquer this disease. The research and breakthroughs happening right here, right now, are laying the groundwork for treatments that will eventually benefit patients around the world."
The size and scope of this campaign reflect the growth of Dana-Farber during the last five years. Between 2001 and 2005, outpatient visits and infusions at Dana-Farber grew by more than 43 percent, from nearly 128,000 to more than 184,000. The number of clinical trials available to Dana-Farber patients increased 60 percent, from 409 trials to 658.
Mission Possible: The Dana-Farber Campaign to Conquer Cancer began its "quiet" phase in October 2003 and is already more than 50 percent of the way toward achieving its goal, having reached $544 million.
"For 60 years, it has been our mission to eradicate cancer and the fear it engenders," said Benz. "We have been relentless in our pursuit, and this campaign will take us even closer to our goal. Together, we can conquer cancer."
Additional information about the campaign is available online at www.dana-farber.org/campaign.
Founded in 1947 by Sidney Farber, MD, the father of modern chemotherapy, Boston-based Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, a founding member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC), a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, and a federally designated Center for AIDS Research.