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History of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

  • Sidney Farber, MD, with a young patient

    In 1947, Sidney Farber, MD, founded the Children's Cancer Research Foundation, dedicated to providing compassionate, state-of-the-art treatment to children with cancer while developing the cancer preventatives, treatments, and cures of the future.

    The foundation officially expanded its programs to include patients of all ages in 1969, and in 1974 became known as the Sidney Farber Cancer Center in honor of its founder. The long-term support of the Charles A. Dana Foundation was acknowledged by incorporating the Institute under its present name in 1983.

    Today, the Institute employs over 4,500 people supporting more than 450,000 patient visits a year, is involved in some 900 clinical trials, and is internationally renowned for its blending of research and clinical excellence. The Institute's expertise in these two aspects of the fight against cancer uniquely positions it to develop and test the next generation of cancer therapies in both the laboratory and the clinic.

    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, a federally designated Center for AIDS Research, and a founding member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, a federally designated comprehensive cancer center.

    Providing advanced training in cancer treatment and research for an international faculty, the Institute conducts community-based programs in cancer prevention, detection, and control throughout New England, and maintains joint programs with other Boston institutions affiliated with Harvard Medical School and the Partners Health Care System, including Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston Children's Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital.

    Dana-Farber is supported by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the generous support of numerous foundations and individuals who contribute to the Institute's individual research and clinic programs or to the Jimmy Fund, the principal charity of the Institute, named for one of its child patients.